The Library Of Congress chooses 25 movies annually to enter its National Film Registry. For 2022, the committee decided to include Kid’ N Play’s House Party in the hallowed halls. The 1990 film starring Christopher “Kid” Reid and Christopher “Play” Martin, as well as Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell, Robin Harris, Full Force, and others, will be joining the likes of the original Super Fly, Carrie, 2008’s Ironman, and the 1968 eponymous Charles Mingus documentary.
Reginald Hudlin, who wrote and directed House Party, reacted to the news with gratitude:
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In 2015, as Ambrosia For Heads celebrated 25 years of the original House Party, writer Bonita pointed out that the film began as a vehicle for DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. However, Select Records’ Kid’ n Play ended up taking the role, and ushering in film careers for years (and many sequels) to follow.
The piece wrote, “In contrast to Hip-Hop themed movies before and after, House Party showed the middle class version of the culture. The parents took vacation (thus setting up the circumstance to allow the house party), the lead characters were in school and college-bound, and the violence was kept to a minimum and primarily for comic-value, courtesy of Full Force. The music was still a driving force, though, powered by a soundtrack featuring LL Cool J, Force MD’s, Flavor Flav, Full Force, Kid’ N Play, and more. And, of course, the dancing also was a prominent feature, as Kid and Play showcased moves that would be copied for years to come.”
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Late comedians John Witherspoon and A.J. Johnson all appeared in the original New Line Cinema release. Robin Harris, a mentor to the then-burgeoning Martin Lawrence, died less than two weeks after the film was released.
House Party became a franchise. Two more films starred Kid ‘N Play and a cartoon series. They also did 1992’s Class Act, produced by veteran Motown alum Suzanne de Passe’s company. While Hudlin went on to direct Boomerang, Marshall, and this year’s Sidney Poitier documentary, House Party 2 was handled by the New Jack City producing duo of George McHenry and Doug Jackson. Following House Party 2, there have been three more films, as recently as 2014—which featured a cameo from Kid ‘N Play.
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Last year, Play appeared in BET comedy series Bigger. Kid voiced a part in Cartoon Network Studios’ British series, Apple & Onion.