This year, House Party turns 30.
But, get this – the film almost didn’t happen.
A cult classic, House Party kicked off the cinematic careers for ’80s rap group Kid ‘N Play and laid the foundation for merging of hip-hop in film in the ’90s.
We had a chance to chat with Christopher “Play” Martin on what it was like to be a part of this iconic movie and just reflect on how the movie remains timeless-three decades later.
“House Party speaks volumes to something that can be placed in a time capsule that reflects a certain era that took place…and was significant in history to Black culture,” said Martin. “It did historical things that set a precedent that no one saw coming or knew could even happen.”
In fact, Martin was one of those people.
This is so fulfilling knowing that the film almost didn’t happen because he didn’t buy into the idea that he could be a part of the depiction of hip hop on the big screen. After paying close attention to the relationship between hip-hop and cinema and the many failed attempts at capturing the art and essence of the genre through cinema, Martin wasn’t too sure that this time would be different.
We’re so happy that he was wrong and for majority rules. A rule in the duo’s friendship- outside of entertainment -that if a person’s vote is outnumbered they jump on board and in this case, Martin (and us) are glad that it happened this way.
Because let’s just face it, we and many others probably can’t even imagine a world without House Party– I mean it has shaped hip-hop culture today.
Artists like Chris Brown have recreated the iconic dance scene-one of many iconic scenes in the film that has been recreated. People even have House Party themed weddings where they’re hitting the ‘Kickstep’ and ‘Funky Charleston’ which Martin admits is all still so humbling, even mentioning artists like Meek Mill whose ‘Welcome to My House Party’ record has been used as the opening for Kid ‘N Play’s live performance.
The movie did a lot for the culture, not just aesthetically, because let’s admit it, we’re all still rocking those ‘90s fashions laid out in the movie- except for some of those hairstyles of course. Outside of all that it was on the surface, at its core, House Party touched on many social issues that still resonate with us today.
From police brutality to the disconnect between older generations and hip-hop, Martin credits The Hudlin Brothers for writing and creating a story that not only captivated the youth but taught life lessons as well. It’s what he says art is all about- being able to go back to it multiple times and pick up things that may have gone over your head in the first sitting.
Martin mentions that Freddie Hudlin purposely left out mentioning a city or state when writing the movie in order to allow people to embrace the film in their own way. This speaks volumes to how much of an impact the movie had on real life for a lot of people.
Particularly in how it portrayed the value of friendship. A huge thing for Martin as he reflects on how many considered him and Reid as the “poster boys” for friendship back then, recalling how kids would come up to him citing that their very own relationships with their friends mirrored the duo.
“Over the years as the friendship resonated on film it wasn’t acting,” Martin adds that he and Reid had an organic friendship way before the movie and this wasn’t something that was created or had to be sought out in a casting call. He shares that even now, a thing that he and Reid do before hitting the stage is hugging one another and saying “let’s have fun” because “once that leaves it’s time for us to take a break or call it a day.”
And calling it a day is nowhere near where Martin is right now as he works towards his aspirations of becoming a philanthropist on a higher level. Something that has become second nature through his ability to press the record button on his camera and make something special.
An object that he carries with him alongside his travels to capture the stories of people that he meets, ultimately using his likeliness and platform to shed light on the many good things in the world that are occurring.
His multimedia platform, Brand Newz n Life, is all about bringing forth positive news that audiences can apply to their lives- highlighting the good that media doesn’t always portray.
Martin continues to have a hand in impacting the culture today, as he serves as the executive producer alongside good friend Cheryl “Salt” James of Salt-N-Pepa for their documentary, “AND iDANCED.” A project that highlights all of the dancers who started out in the very beginning of hip-hop that went on to dance for names like Whitney Houston, Madonna, Michael Jackson and more.
“It’s very humbling,” says Martin as he speaks on the instances in which he gets the chance to channel surf and catch House Party, or when someone hits the famous Kid ‘N Play dance, or when someone makes a cultural reference to the movie. He mentions that because he and Reid have never had big egos when it comes to the significance of the film or their roles in it, that they’ve finally reached the point where they can receive when someone refers to them as ‘icons’. Martin jokingly explains that they’re still working on the term ‘legends’, crediting God for knowing all along that this would be the impact that they have on the culture today.
And because we live in a time where people want to remake everything created in the ‘90s, Martin says he isn’t opposed to the thought of a reboot and even has a great idea for recreating the film so that it’s done right.
House Party is sure to be a film that will remain relevant until the end of time. In fact, the movie was so great that they had to do it 3 more times!
Catch the premiere of House Party Friday night at 8 pm ET only on aspireTV
And if that’s not enough, we got you with a marathon of House Party, House Party 2 AND House Party 3 this Saturday starting at 5 pm ET.