Leslie Harris’ film Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. presents a very personal story of a young black girl, Chantal, living in New York City, trying to make the most of her life. The character of Chantal represents an often unheard voice in cinema. From her, audiences are able to see a perspective that they would not normally get the chance to see. We see the events from Chantal’s perspective, and she often breaks the fourth wall, and speaks directly to the camera.
Chantal and her friends are not perfect, or always admirable. Nonetheless, they are extremely strong characters, and they are not afraid to speak up. Thus, the viewer always knows what is on their mind.
In this still, we see Chantal and her friends sitting in the park, just chatting. They are discussing sex, and they each provide their take on it. As Melvin Donalson states, in his book Black Directors in Hollywood; “the girls discuss sex with both authority and misinformation…they share distorted facts.”(184) The girls talk as if they know all about sex, and are experienced with it. Yet, the reality is that they have much to learn about sex, and more importantly, its consequences. Donalson goes on to say that: “The scene is humorous, authentic in its language, but sad in the ignorance of the streetwise girls.”(184) This statement is a good summation of much of the film. Many of the characters within the film project a confidence beyond what they can muster. Many characters, especially Chantal, fall victim to their over-confidence, and lack of knowledge. The case in point being that Chantal becomes pregnant, despite believing that she would never fall into such a circumstance. Despite her situation, Chantal perseveres, and grows stronger as a result of the changes in her life.