[TypicalGirls] male-centric vibe around Betty Davis reissues

Lani Smith LSmith at minlib.net
Fri Jun 1 18:33:13 EDT 2007

Thanks for posting this analysis. 
I don't even think I know who Betty Davis is, but now I can't wait to hear

-----Original Message-----
From: "Raven Baker" <softgraffiti at gmail.com>
To: typicalgirls at lists.ibiblio.org
Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 15:56:57 -0400
Subject: Re: [TypicalGirls] male-centric vibe around Betty Davis reissues

> I am super excited to have found this list (off Perfect Sound
> Forever).  This is my first post, btw so Heya!
> Anyway, thanks to the person who posted a link to the She Real Cool
> blog.  I've been stoked on these Betty Davis reissues.  I got a hold
> of the latest Wax Poetics, before they reissues came out, and reading
> about Davis' life was absolutely fascinating & empowering, but as with
> all the coverage surrounding the release, it certainly is almost all
> male voices interpreting her work & fitting her into a modern context.
>  While I think Oliver Wang who wrote the liner notes for both CDs (and
> the Wax Poetics article, I believe) examined her music & life with
> more tact and understanding than the reviews I've seen, there is still
> a heavy, heavy focus on her marriage to Miles Davis (which was only a
> year!) whether she was sleeping with Jimmi Hendrix and the overall
> raciness of her lyrics.  Would a 'rediscovered' male artist be
> examined in such a light?
> In a faint way, it reminds me of the furor & attention Anais Nin
> receives.  The focus is firstly on her relationships (whether sexual
> or not) with the famous folks of her day, followed by a fascination
> with her erotica & the sexy bits of her diaries.  There's scant
> attention paid to her prose (other than like, House of Incest, and
> that's usually a very uncritical, disgusted 'ewww she slept with her
> father!' angle).  With these Davis reissues, the attention has
> followed a similar path: her relationships with men like Miles Davis,
> Jimi Hendrix & Sly Stone; a fascination with her lyrics (who was 'He
> Was A Big Freak' about?!); and then 'oh yeah, she made really great,
> progressive, empowered funk.'  While I really enjoyed the Wax Poetics
> piece, it too fell prey to this mindset with a lot of attention spent
> on the year she was married to Davis (and how she met him) that could
> have been better spent detailing her time as Motown songwriter or the
> radicalness of having produced her second album.
> //end rant
> <3raven
> -- 
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