Biopic exploring the life and work of Bessie Smith, the American blues singer who rose to fame during the 1920s and 1930s. Orphaned at a young age, Bessie is left in the care of her stern older sister Viola, and receives her first taste of fame performing in Tennessee vaudeville shows alongside her brother. Determined achieve her ambition of reaching the stage, Bessie struggles to overcome the prejudices of producers unwilling to make a star of a dark-skinned singer, and eventually finds her big break by signing on with Columbia Records. Queen Latifah stars as the legendary singer, with Michael Kenneth Williams, Khandi Alexander and Tory Kittles