Betty Davis, the controversial funk pioneer who also was the second wife of the late Miles Davis has died. She was 77 years old.
Connie Portis, a long-time friend posted the following statement on social media:
It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of Betty Davis, a multi-talented music influencer, pioneer rock star, singer, songwriter, arranger, model, and fashion icon. Most of all Betty was a friend, Aunt, niece, and beloved member of her community of Homestead, Pennsylvania, and of the worldwide community of friends and fans. At a time to be announced, we will pay tribute to her beautiful, bold, and brash, persona. Today we cherish her memory as the sweet, thoughtful, and reflective person she was…There’s is no other.
Personal statement from a friend. I was blessed that Betty and I remained friends for 65 years. After her brief, impactful music career, mental health challenges forced her to return home to live with her mother. During that time many thought she was in hiding and did not want to be found. This is not true. Betty was receiving help to find a balance in her life while continuing to write music and oversee her music business. From our early teens to her passing we remained friends and I cared for her through the many stages of her physical and mental health. In the past few years, primarily with the release of the documentary “They Say I’m Different,” Betty reconnected with friends from around the world and made new and loving friends who produced the film. Her physical health declined rapidly within a two-week period after being diagnosed with cancer. In her last days, she rested in lovely surroundings and passed away in the early morning of February 9, 2022. In the coming days, exciting ‘official’ social media sites will be launched to pay tribute and allow fans and admirers to share their Betty Davis stories.
Connie Portis, friend.
Davis’ career spanned from the 1960s to the end of the 1970s. She was considered a pioneer in the Funk movement that became popular in the 1970s. She was one of the first black women to write her own lyrics. Ultimately she was known for her sexually provocative lyrics, and being Davis’ second wife.
Betty met Miles Davis in 1968 and they were married shortly after. The marriage only lasted a year, but during the time many credit Betty with introducing the psychedelic and funk genre to Miles Davis.
The 1960s saw Davis release several singles. She didn’t release her first album until 1973. She released three albums from 1973 to 1975. Eventually by 1979, she left the music industry and returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
While Davis never topped the charts, her style opened the doors for many artists that followed.