[TypicalGirls] male-centric vibe around Betty Davis reissues

Raven Baker softgraffiti at gmail.com
Tue May 29 15:56:57 EDT 2007

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



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