Reed and Roberts, D Building. Aunt Angie’s Apartment. 7 Years Old. Everybody knew that my Aunt Angie had all the movies. Remember, when you had to sometimes untangle the film with the VHS movies or blow it like a Nintendo game because the movie was messing up. Not at my Aunt Angie’s house. All the movies were in order, they were crisp, and they were clear!
I was never too fond of her scary movie collection like Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th, but at the tender age of 7, I fell in love with the 1992 film Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. Written and directed by Leslie Harris, the movie is about a Brooklyn teenager whose college bound dreams are derailed with a pregnancy.
Like most little girls in the projects, Chantell Mitchell (Ariyan A. Johnson) aspired to be something greater than her current situation. Her, her parents, and her two little brothers were packed into a small 3 bedroom apartment in the projects. Chantell is clearly very intelligent but her capability is quickly overshadowed with her boisterous, outspoken demeanor.
While in a relationship, Chantell meets a new boy toy, Tyrone (Kevin Thigpen). Ty, as she called him, seemed to have it all; a car, money, and the freedom to do whatever he wanted. Captivated by Ty’s life luxuries, Chantell fell for him instantly. She gets pregnant and goes through many lengths to hide the pregnancy by alienating her family and friends and wearing big clothes. Chantell undergoes a traumatic baby delivery on Ty’s bed. Ty pulls a Brenda’s-Got-A-Baby move and places the baby in the garbage can. Full of remorse, Ty removes the baby from the garbage can and returns to the house. In the end, she keeps the baby and enrolls into the local community college.
What happened to Ariyan A. Johnson? She was young, beautiful and talented. After Just Another Girl on the I.R.T., it’s as if she fell off the face of the Earth. I stumbled across her website and it seems as if she’s continued to work as an actress, writer, producer, dancer and choreographer. But I’ve only seen her on the Steve Harvey Show as Romeo’s girlfriend. Ariyan Johnson could have been the next Halle Berry. I guess we’ll never know. Good luck to Ms. Johnson!!!
5 STARS: For this movie to be an independent film, I thought Leslie Harris did a beautiful job of depicting the everyday challenges of young Black girls. It doesn’t matter your economic status, Black teenage girls problems are synonymous across the world. Great Movie!
(If you want to see Just Another Girl on the I.R.T., you can borrow my copy for $5.35 per night (tax included) or you can grab it off of Amazon.com for $9.99)