Carmen: A Hip Hopera is a 2001 made-for-TV musical directed by Robert Townsend and produced for MTV. The film features a slew of African-American musicians including Beyoncé Knowles, Mos Def, Rah Digga, Wyclef Jean, Mekhi Phifer, Da Brat, Joy Bryant, Jermaine Dupri and Lil' Bow Wow. Carmen Brown is an actress who causes trouble wherever she goes, getting entangled with Derek Hill, fiance to to Caela. One night, Carmen quarrels with a jealous woman. Derek's superior, Lieutenant Miller, orders him to bring Carmen in. Carmen fails to seduce Hill, but he lets her visit him so she can change clothes. After changing into some lingerie, she wins Hill over. Hill wakes in the morning, with Carmen gone, with Caela and his crooked cop of a superior arresting him. Caela leaves Hill.
Carmen writes to Hill, and Hill shares his desire with his cellmates. While Hill is jailed, Carmen meets Blaze. Blaze wants to bring Carmen to LA, but only her friends go. Carmen swears to join them once Hill is free. Sadly, Hill has one year of probation once freed. After getting into an argument with Miller, Hill punches him and flees with Carmen.
Now in LA, Carmen and Hill are jobless. Carmen finds her best friends, who are being spoiled by Blaze. The trio have their fortunes read with Carmen's reading "Ruin," "Sorrow" and "Death." Deciding that she needs a change, Carmen heads to Blaze's rehearsal and gets to be Blaze's date for his next concert. Elsewhere, Miller hunts for Hill, and Miller's ex-partner gives Hill's address for a large bribe. Simultaneously, Carmen is nearly electrocuted by a radio.
Soon after, Carmen leaves Hill, moving into a house with her friends. She rationalizes that she shouldn't throw her life away on him, even though he did for her. Devastated by Carmen, Hill learns from Caela that he's in danger for knowing the truth. Hill seeks out Carmen to win her over again, bringing her with him with Carmen refusing. During this argument, Miller accidentally snipes Carmen twice while aiming for Hill from secret. Held by Hill, Carmen can't speak when asked what was wrong. Hill touches her back, noticing blood on his hand and Carmen dies. Hill lays her body on the floor and confronts Miller, with Miller falling to his death. Carmen's best friends find her body and are both distraught. The story ends with Hill being arrested.