Funk icon and self-described “sound projectionist” Betty Davis has passed away at the age of 76, and the world is mourning an influential legend.
was waiting to get confirmation before sharing anything, but this is sad news. Thankful for Betty Davis, though. The reach of her influence & sonic lineage is immense. You’ve heard her, even if you think you’ve never heard her. I’m glad we got her at all.https://t.co/48BX1MXPUC
— Hanif Abdurraqib (@NifMuhammad) February 9, 2022
Though Davis’s fraught relationship with the label that wanted her to conform to industry standards meant that only three Davis albums saw the light of day in the 1970s leading to a long absence of new work, but those albums, produced between 1973 and 1975, spread their influence far and wide. Davis, who considered herself more of a sound artist, also had a year-long, rocky marriage to jazz legend Miles Davis, something that defined her for decades in a sexist, racist industry. Her subject matter was broad and unflinching, and she defied the industry’s expectations to present in a less individualistic way. Though it hurt her music career at the time, her refusal to be anything but herself gained her such fans as Janelle Monáe and Erykah Badu.
rip to the great rock star, betty davis! 💔 the world will simply never be the same. forever in our hearts, minds, and influence. pic.twitter.com/BxnJmPrKmD
— maya cade (@mayascade) February 9, 2022
RIP #BettyDavis 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
Thank you for all your magic pic.twitter.com/8PpZwq08vq
— Malina Moye (@MalinaMoye) February 9, 2022
Betty Grey Mabry Davis
July 26, 1945-February 9, 2022
RIP Betty Davis, a multi-talented music influencer, pioneer rock star, singer, songwriter, arranger, model, and fashion icon. From Pittsburgh (Homestead) https://t.co/HwqGXZk3DN
— MF MOCK (@brentinmock) February 9, 2022
Betty Davis has passed & I’m heartbroken. She was a huge inspiration to me as a woman & artist, a blueprint for me stepping out into the world determine to (as in the lyric of Sly & the Family Stone): BE MYSELF. God rest her soul. And her music rocked to the highest.
— Malaika Adero (@MalaikaAdero) February 9, 2022
Dear Ms. Betty Davis,
Thank you for everything. The funk. The feminine power. The inspiration. The forwarding thinking. Thank you for being unapologetically YOU.
You will forever be apart of my life’s soundtrack, my journey into womanhood.
May you Rest In Peace. 💜😢🕊 pic.twitter.com/kNASKDSrrw
— India (Soulful Haze) (@PlanetIndiaM) February 9, 2022
RIP Betty Davis 💔💔 https://t.co/0Y42aC4Uim
— Daniel Kaluuya If You Are Reading This I Swallow (@WrittenByHanna) February 9, 2022
May Betty Davis rest in peace (this was so deeply painful to type). Thank you to all that you have given us. pic.twitter.com/UveP6i3093
— i say go on and be yourself babe (@Salt1920) February 9, 2022
Betty Davis. July 26, 1946 – February 9, 2022. Rest well my Sister. pic.twitter.com/qLyQApXZQV
— Bonita Lee Penn (@TheWritingPenn) February 9, 2022
R.I.P to the legendary Betty Davis 💔 pic.twitter.com/Hu4cekXYBX
— 𝙱𝚎𝚌𝚌𝚊. (@MJFINESSELOVER) February 9, 2022
sad as hell to hear about betty davis. rest in peace the queen of funk, the original nasty gal 🤍 pic.twitter.com/gZa7ryAlII
— hot girl midsommar (@verymimi) February 9, 2022
Betty Davis performing at the Howard University homecoming 1973⚡️⚡️ pic.twitter.com/AZ0zFGKhBa
— Lee (@sunmoon24_lee) February 9, 2022
✨ BETTY DAVIS ✨ pic.twitter.com/ZfvYpyaoMp
— COSMO BAKER (@CosmoBaker) February 9, 2022
If you want to learn more about the legendary artist, look no further than the 2018 documentary Betty: They Say I’m Different.
If you’ve never heard of Betty Davis, watch this. It’s on Prime. pic.twitter.com/BpyObsnw0q
— BelovedCareBear (@tracyanomaly) February 9, 2022
Reflecting on Davis’s influence, scholar Emily Lordi wrote for the New Yorker in 2018 that: “Janelle Monáe is understandably discussed in terms of the future, but her new work also raises the spectre of the past—not only those figures upon whose legacies she builds, but also the obscured artists who, had they succeeded, might have given her even more traction. Especially in light of the erasure of memory that “Dirty Computer” depicts and resists, we might ask how much freer Monáe and her constituents might be if Davis had thrived. How much bolder might they be if not for the ongoing conservatism and historical amnesia that marks every sexually candid or queer black woman as the “only” and “first”—that requires each one to pioneer the way forward all over again?”