A single poor black mother tries her best to raise her kids in the projects in Chicago, and keep them out of trouble. Angela Bassett plays the lead character Brenda. Her life is tough. She is barely able to keep food on the table for her three kids. Then she loses her job. She goes with her best friend Cheryl (played by Sofía Vergara) to her ex-husband's job, to beg him to help since he never paid any child support. He tells her to get lost. Cheryl throws a brick at his head, knocking him out. The women run away before he can recover. Brenda's son, Michael (played by Lance Gross) is a good boy, does well in school, and is talented at basketball. An ex-basketball player named Harry (played by Rick Fox), who got kicked out of the league for gambling, has cleaned up his act and now helps train young players so they will not get into the same troubles as he did. Harry tells Brenda her son has talent and he can introduce him to some teams. He also invites her to go on a date with him. Brenda does not trust his motivations. Michael offers to drop out of school to get a job to help his mother pay the bills. She will not allow him to quit school. She wants him to concentrate on his studies so he will have a better future. However, when the power company turns the electricity off, Michael decides he had better do something, else they will all starve. Michael talks to a friend who is a drug dealer. He tries to deal drugs, but he does not really want to do this. When he gets home, Michael has a big fight with Brenda. She tells him if he deals drugs, she will throw him out of the house. This is the last thing he wants because he really wants to help his mom. He changes his mind about selling the drugs. He goes back to see his friend to give him the drugs and the money he made. While he is talking to him, a rival gang drives up. They shoot Michael in the back while he runs away. Michael goes to the hospital but does not die.
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Brenda gets a letter from her Uncle saying her father died. She never met her father because her single mother raised her. The letter includes bus tickets for her and the children to go to Georgia for the funeral. Cheryl convinces her to go because there is nothing in Chicago for them. When Brenda arrives in the small town in Georgia they are picked up at the bus stop by Leroy Brown (played by David Mann), and Cora (played by Tamela Mann) who is his daughter. They meet the rest of the family at dinner, which includes Vera (played by Jenifer Lewis). Vera, who is the legitimate daughter of the man who died, is not happy to see her. Vera demands to know why Brenda is there. Brenda tells her, Uncle L.B. (played by Frankie Faison) invited her. L.B. confirms he invited her because it was the dying wish of his brother to makes amends with his illegitimate daughter Brenda because he never did anything for in her entire life. L.B. tells the family, before his brother became a preacher; he was a pimp. The women at the table are shocked to realize, all the lady friends of their father, they knew when they were little children, were all prostitutes. Brenda's mom was his favorite prostitute. Brenda is surprised to see, Harry also lives there in the small town. Harry tells her he only goes to Chicago to train players but he prefers to live in the small town.
At the church, there is a lengthy funeral service because Leroy Brown demands to speak. Leroy goes on for more than three hours wailing about the death of his daddy to the consternation of everyone there. At the graveside, Vera starts her nasty stuff. L.B. pushes her into the grave to shut her up. The next day Brenda is ready to leave. Cora gives her an envelope with cash in it they put together to help Brenda out. They realize how bad things were when her children told them they were literally starving. Brenda does not want to accept the money even though she really needs it, but Cora insists. Brenda is ready to leave but they force her to stay for the reading of the will. To everyone's surprise, the will says the dead man left Brenda his rental house. When they go to see the property, it is a run-down disaster completely falling apart. Brenda goes back to Chicago.
Back in Chicago, Harry comes to visit. He trains Michael in basketball and gets some teams interested in him. He tells Brenda he signed a contract with Michael to represents him as a manager. Brenda thinks Harry did this to get money, so she breaks up with him. Michael gets an offer to join a team. Brenda finds out the contract does not have any payment for Harry in it. Harry was only doing this to protect the boy and help him get a good deal. At the press announcement of the signing to the team, Michael's no-good father shows up looking for money. Brenda ignores him. Michael tells the press what kind of lousy father he is and the press attacks him with questions making him leave.
Harry and Brenda make up and get back together. Brenda says she is sorry, but she was frightened because of her experience with three men, each who gave her a baby. All left her. Harry says she just did not understand he really loves her. He convinces her to come back to the little town in Georgia just to give the town and him one more chance. When she gets there with her kids, Harry takes her to the run-down house. It had a complete renovation, paid for with money Harry gave for this purpose. She moves from the projects in Chicago to live in the beautiful new house in the small town and be with Harry, leaving all of her troubles behind.
Best part of story, including ending:
I was happy to see Brenda stayed strong through all of her troubles, did not use drugs or alcohol, and did the best she could for her kids. This is very admirable.
Best scene in story:
The funniest scenes are the outtakes, which run during the end credits when Leroy Brown is going crazy in church, giving the sermon, and his toupee is flipping around on his head like a helicopter. It is hilarious.
Opinion about the main character:
Because Brenda was able to trust enough to allow one more man to be in her life, in the end she got a good one. She deserved this and it makes a nice ending.