The main character of Leslie Harris’s Just Another Girl on the IRT, Chantel Mitchell, acts like she’s got her whole life pulled together. She is confident, smart, and independent but at the same time, like any other teenage girl, selfish, impatient, and doesn’t seem to know which end is up. Chantel acts like she doesn’t need help from anybody, but in reality, she can’t do everything on her own. She wants to break out of the urban landscape that is her home, and she talks it up like she knows how to do it, but her actions are quite the opposite.
"Harris accomplishes a challenging feat in Just Another Girl — honestly presenting a black teenage girl’s urban world, while exposing the character’s flaws that are partly caused by the environment and partly generated from the contradictory aspects of the character’s age.” (Donalson 184)
In this still, Chantel is speaking to the school principal about graduating early so she can head off to college. She is originally in the principal’s office because she makes a scene with her teacher by arguing and swearing and he sends her there. The principal is advising her not to graduate early, and that she needs to take more time to mature. Of course, Chantel is not having this, because, as she states in the first line of the movie, “I do what I want when I want.” This line in itself shows Chantel’s impatience and immaturity.
Although she wants so much to not be “just another girl”, her actions speak out against this. The way her and her friends talk, especially about things like sex, are misinformed and naive. It is because of Chantel and her boyfriend, Tyrone, being immature and irresponsible that she gets pregnant, and even then, she still refuses to take responsibility for her actions or even acknowledge that she is actually pregnant. It is not until after the baby is born that Chantel gets a real dose of reality. By the end of the film, she finally “confesses the sacrifices made for her child, as she lives at home and attends a community college. But with Tyrone’s support for the child, Chantel displays her determination to keep pursuing her goals.” (Donalson 183)
Once the baby is there, Chantel and Tyrone both needed to grow up. She finally is able to pull her life together, and be responsible for herself and her baby. Her ability to take responsibility for her actions shows that by the end of the film, she isn’t “just another girl”, and that she is going to follow her dreams even if it gets tough sometimes.