TV Tango Search


|              FREE: Ask a TV Expert



Photo Credit: Frank Masi / HBO
Air Date Rating Share Against the
Saturday, May 16, 2015 N/A
(Click any date to see TV listings for that day)
  • Season: 2014-2015
  • Network: HBO
  • Genre: Drama
  • Category: Movies
  • Subject Matter: Biography, True Story, Period Piece

Buy This Show on DVD or Watch Online

  • Amazon
  • Click icon to watch or own this Movie

Plot Synopsis

Chronicles the life of 1920's legendary blues singer Bessie Smith, who grew up poor in Tennessee and rose to fame to become "The Empress of The Blues." After the death of her parents, Bessie was raised by her hateful older sister, Viola. Bessie soon leaves home and joins her older brother, Clarence, as a dancer in a traveling vaudeville show where she meets blues singer Ma Rainey. Rainey takes her under her wing, and over the next few years she begins to find her own vocal style and gains her own following. Having affairs with both men and women, she eventually falls in love and marries Jack Gee in 1923. At the height of her success, her career began to decline, due in part to the Great Depression and the disintegration of her volatile marriage. In 1933 she is persuaded by producer Jack Hammond to re-record her music. Over the next few years she continues to perform around the country. While traveling to a show in Memphis, her car was hit by a truck, and on September 26, 1937 Bessie died from the results of her injuries. Throughout the years, Bessie Smith has served as an inspiration for such illustrious singers as Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin and Nina Simone, among others.


Production Company:

  • HBO Films, Flavor Unit Entertainment, Zanuck Company

Production Type:

  • In-House
All data is checked with on-screen credits before being entered into the database.