Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.

Ariyan A. Johnson, Kevin Thigpen, Ebony Jerido

Directed by Leslie Harris
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
March 19, 1993

Shot in seventeen days on a shoestring, this first-time feature from writer-director Leslie Harris – a black woman understandably fed up with male dominance in movies – is cause for celebration. Just Another Girl is not just another movie. Harris offers an adrenalin rush of energy and talent. Her artfully stylized, explosively funny film also manages to be deeply moving without jerking easy tears.

The "girl" of the title is a seventeen-year-old bundle of smarts and attitude named Chantel Mitchell. A star is born in Ariyan Johnson, the dancer who plays her, in an inspired debut performance. Chantel is as hot for parties and boys as the next girl on the I.R.T., the subway she takes from school in Brooklyn to a job in a Manhattan gourmet shop. Just don't call her a statistic. She's an A student with an eye on college and getting out of the projects, while avoiding crime, drugs and unsafe sex. Though her friend Natete (Ebony Jerido) may hate condoms ("I want to feel a real man inside of me"), Chantel makes sure her man, Gerard (a hilarious Jerard Washington), keeps it covered.

As female rappers such as Nikki D, Cee Asia and BWP cook on the soundtrack, Chantel and her pals make their own hip-hop poetry on the streets. Harris perfectly catches their humor, vulnerability and righteous anger. When Chantel meets the seductive Tyrone (Kevin Thigpen), questions of pregnancy and abortion arise, steering the film into a more conventional dramatic structure. But Harris is a bracing new voice; she keeps her big little movie brimming with the pleasures of the unexpected.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    • Child of God
      star rating
      Well Go USA Entertainment
    • lucy
      star rating
      Universal Pictures
    • star rating
      IFC Films
    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Love Is the Answer”

    Utopia | 1977

    The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

    More Song Stories entries »