The Watermelon Woman was the name given to the mythical Fae Richards, a beautiful yet elusive black actress from the 1930's. In all her films it was her only billing. Why should that be? It is a mystery that perplexes Cheryl , a young black film maker. She sets out to solve the mystery by making a documentary about this forgotten star. Her research takes her from the depths of a terrifying "lesbian archive", to the heights of academia, with the irrepressible Camille Paglia giving an impromptu lecture on the hidden meaning of "watermelons". Cheryl has a full time job that supports her aspiring film making career, working in a local video store. There she meets and falls deeply in love with Diana , one of her customers. A sizzling affair ensues and while Cheryl's research answers many secrets about the actress's life, each answer opens a Pandora's box of questions; about Fae and also about Cheryl, her relationship with Diana and her future.