Film Review

by Alicia Benjamin

Musician, Betty Davis

Before Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, there was Betty Davis, shaking her behind, grinding her hips and joyfully delivering raunchy lyrics to both fans and naysayers.

In the documentary film, “Betty: They Say I’m Different,” we witness Betty Davis’s transformation from a creative daddy’s girl in Pittsburg to an erotic, in-your-face performer in New York City from the early to mid-1970s.

Betty Davis, born Betty Mabry in Durham, N.C. in 1946, moved outside Pittsburgh with her family when she was 12 and became Betty Davis after she married jazz great Miles Davis. …

Cyntoia Brown at 16 years old in the Netflix film, Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story.

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story


By Alicia Benjamin

When we see Cyntoia Brown in the opening scenes of the Netflix film, Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story, she very obviously needs help. She’s a 16-year-old adolescent runaway who slurs her words and pleads to be understood after killing a man.

Brown, who had been beaten, pimped and raped while living on the streets in Nashville, became involved with a 23-year-old man known as Cut-Throat who forced Brown to work as a prostitute.

In August of 2004, 43-year-old Johnny Allen solicited Brown for sex, then took her…

Alicia Benjamin

Writer, film lover and podcaster. Favorite films include Daughters of the Dust, The Verdict, She’s Gotta Have It, Ghost Dog and Claudine.

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