(CBS Local)– Queens native Christopher Martin has been a music and entertainment icon ever since he and Christopher Reid sprung onto the scene as Kid ‘n Play in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Martin & Reid starred in three House Party movies and put together several hit albums.
Today, Martin is an actor in the new BET+ show “Bigger” and recently released a new documentary called “And iDanced” about dancers from hip hop and R&B music videos from the 80s and 90s. CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith caught up with Martin to talk about his childhood in New York, how he and Reid became Kid ‘n Play and his new documentary.
“Going to the block parties and hanging out with your friends was to get away from sometimes not such a feel good situation,” said Martin. “At that time in the late 80s and the early 90s, we were dealing with the financial crisis, afterschool programs and music programs were taken away and we found a way to deal with that in a very unorthodox way. Before I got into rapping, I went through the different phases. I thought I could be a DJ and spent a lot of time on the dance floor. It was about escapism and going to see the girl you had a crush on and enjoy the music. Music always did something for me, it was like a ministry for me.”
While decades have passed since Kid ‘n Play became cultural icons for their music and movies, their legacies live on. Martin got his big break when the Hudlin brothers took an interest in him and his friend and the rest is history.
“The Hudlin brothers would see us at industry parties and they would keep giving us updates on this thing they wanted us to do that would later be called House Party,” said Martin. “Even before that, it’s not so much what you know, but who you know. Kid and I were part of a community of dance in New York. There were all of these different clubs that we frequented with all of these different dancers. I had this idea for the Gittin’ Funky music video to get all our dancer friends together and everybody gets their shine, so they can see where Kid and I came from. It was such a joy to bring that music video to the forefront. They were very magical times. It was the golden era and simpler times.”