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Betty: They Say I'm Different (2017)

Funk Queen Betty Davis changed the landscape for female artists in America. She "was the first..." as former husband Miles Davis said. "Madonna before Madonna, Prince before Prince". An ... See full summary »


Philip Cox (as Phil Cox), Philip Cox


Philip Cox, Philip Cox (co-writer)
2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mike Canton Mike Canton ... Himself, host of The Soul Show, WYEP-FM (voice)
Oliver Wang Oliver Wang ... Himself, music critic and DJ
Al Gee Al Gee ... Himself (voice) (archive footage)
Vernon Gibbs Vernon Gibbs ... Himself, music critic
Greg Errico Greg Errico ... Himself, drummer, Sly and the Family Stone
Elnora B. Neal Elnora B. Neal ... Herself, Betty Davis' aunt
Nickey Neal Nickey Neal ... Himself, Betty Davis' cousin
Philip Cox Philip Cox ... Himself (voice)
Connie Portis Connie Portis ... Herself, Betty Davis' childhood friend
Miles Davis ... Himself (archive footage)
Greg Tate Greg Tate ... Himself
Winona Williams Winona Williams ... Herself, Betty Davis' friend from the '70s
Militia Vox Militia Vox ... Herself
Tamar-kali Tamar-kali ... Herself
Fred Mills Fred Mills ... Himself, keyboardist, Funk House


Funk Queen Betty Davis changed the landscape for female artists in America. She "was the first..." as former husband Miles Davis said. "Madonna before Madonna, Prince before Prince". An aspiring songwriter from a small steel town, Betty arrived on the 70's scene to break boundaries for women with her daring personality, iconic fashion and outrageous funk music. She befriended Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone, wrote songs for the Chambers Brothers and the Commodores, and married Miles - startlingly turning him from jazz to funk on the album she named "Bitches Brew". She then, despite being banned and boycotted, went on to become the first black woman to perform, write and manage herself. Betty was a feminist pioneer, inspiring and intimidating in a manner like no woman before. Then suddenly - she just vanished. Betty Mabry Davis is a global icon whose mysterious life story has until now, never been told. Creatively blending documentary, animation and nonfiction techniques, this movie traces ... Written by Philip Cox

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Original Funk Queen Betty Davis took on 1970's establishment America and changed the course of women in music forever. Then she vanished. Forty years later, Betty, in a creative and constructed narrative, finally shares her extraordinary story.



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UK | France | USA



Release Date:

March 2018 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA See more »


Box Office


$600,000 (estimated)
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Did You Know?


Betty Davis was the second wife of Jazz legend Miles Davis. She is credited by him for introducing him to Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone and igniting his new path into Jazz Fusion. She also named the legendary album Bitches Brew which marked a revolutionary turning point in Jazz. She produced, wrote and performed three blistering funk albums herself before mysteriously disappearing... See more »

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User Reviews

Betty Davis: All-time queen of funk and soul
29 April 2018 | by ksauer-14478See all my reviews

In november 2017, after some years of waiting in patience, I finally saw the documentairy 'Betty - They say I'm different' about the life and times of the underestimated goddess of seventies funk Betty Davis. This documentary got it's world premiere at the 2017 edition of the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA) and was realized by independent filmmaker Phil Cox, director of the Native Voice Films company from the UK and his team. In one word, this documentay is awesome. As an early crowdfunder of this documentary, fan of the mysterious Betty since the mid eighties when I discovered her music, it felt like an historic moment to view it. Her music is still unique, a style of her own. Her roots, growing up in post-war America with severe wounds of the slavery times, poverty of the black community, segregation and the struggle for equal rights explains a lot of things about Betty's music. The documentairy however provided a deeper look. Instead of adapting to white codes, Betty became a free thinker. At a very young age Betty Mabry (her maiden name), started writing songs. About freedom. About pain. About being a woman. About being a unique human. Strong lyrics and songs, not political or to protest, she kept it close to herself. A very courageous voice, singing 'Are you ready for Betty' on one of her first vinyl 7" records was a very authentic statement in the sixties and early eventies. In particular, being a black woman and on your own. This situation has improved, but is still often the case today I think... Later on, she discovered she had more creative talents then songwriting and singing. Fashion, art, the visualisation of ideas, all came together in the early seventies. She was way ahead of her times. But after three great, revolutionary but shamelessly ignored and overlooked albums she seemed to have disappeared from earth. Phil and his team managed to get contact with her and have gained confidence from her to make this documentary with her cooperation. They discovered rare footage and the story is partly unwinded. Betty has had difficult decades after her withdrawal from the music industry. The good news is that she is writing again, the crow, symbolic element for inspiration in this documentairy has returned. The strong image is connected with her sensitive character in this raw and beautiful film. I have to mention the fabulous animations made by Phil Good, a great way to connect the different parts of Betty's story. This must-see documentairy gives hope. Betty's message of the past and her actual struggle for life has something important to say to loads of people. In particular people who have to struggle. This is so much more than a music documentary. Big 'chapeau' for Phil and his Native Voice Film team. It was a big honour for me to have played quite a lot of the orginal vinyl releases of Betty Mabry/Betty Davis as a dj at the world premiere at Pathe de Munt cinema on the IDFA festival in Amsterdam. Koert Sauer, dj, fan and crowdfunding participant

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