Interview With Christopher Martin
Play Again

Christopher Martin says that his father often told him that in life, there is the process and then there’s the event.

Beginning his music career as Play of the rap duo Kid ‘n’ Play, Martin had a taste of success with several chart topping singles and a series of popular House Party movies. When he seemed to drop out of the limelight, some might have said it was over. Having gathered from his experience, Martin tells you that it is actually just starting.

The learning process would take him through various issues usually associated with youth, only his were magnified by fame and fortune. Having come through all of that he is now poised to share with us his new vision by way of his ministry, HP4.

“HP4 is a stumbled-upon title for a vision. For me everybody is always asking me ‘When is the next movie? When is the next [House] Party? When is the next record?’ Play, bothHP4 Cast:  Chuckie Jenkins, Small Fry and Christopher Martin the character and the real life Play, always gave the parties. So I’m giving another party that’s symbolic of what my thing is now, which is promoting the Gospel. But it’s better. It’s more energy, more passion AND it’s about something. It’s ‘House Party with a purpose’. I kind of like the millennium aspect of [the acronym HP4] where, when you come, and then you’ll find out what it’s about. I don’t want to scare away people who think its going to be too preachy.”

Martin’s HP4 houses different facets of ministry. “Within [HP4] there are several projects encompassing radio, records, movies and live theatre.”

HP4 Radio is a program where Martin, along with Gospel comedians Chuckie Jenkins and Small Fry come together and host a two-hour hip-hop show. “It is like a soap opera on the air, where basically the three of us are housemates and we are radio personalities. The microphone follows us at home and it follows us at our jobs on the air. The audience gets to eavesdrop on situations as topics for each show. Relationships, finance, careers and education; us just talking about [things] and then [we] see what God has to say about it.”

In an effort to deal with the issues in a real way, “We don’t try and candy-coat or to be too far out there. We let the Spirit lead us in terms of how far we go.”

HP4 Radio will be broadcast on Gospel Network. “I’m very happy to be aligned and joined with the Gospel Network. I was kind of going through some stress and anxiety with regards to ‘Lord, these things are here. Now what?’ For example with the radio show, I was concerned about somebody missing the show. Then what? But with the internet on Gospel Network, you can listen to it seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. You can start the show over, or whatever the case may be.”

Other projects on the horizon include live theatre. “Sheryl James and I have written and are co-directing the first Christian hip-hop piece. Basically it’s our real life adventures and stories in the music business tied into one. It’s about a young man whose intentions for music was to uplift God. However, one particular song he writes [for positive purposes] has a potential double meaning and ends up becoming an anthem for getting high.” The drama carries you through the young man’s veering off his intended path, and his journey back —prodigal son style.

And it’s this journey that Martin chooses to zoom in on in his portrayals. “In the project, I’d like to recreate the thing or the situation or environment in which God came and got you or saved you from. With the generation that I am to speaking to, I can’t candy coat the message. We can’t just say [to people] ‘I woke up one day and there God was.’ I don’t doubt your story, but what happened the night before for you to finally be open? Because [truth be told] He was probably standing right there everyday, but you never noticed Him until this situation.”

So it seems that in Martin’s own life, and in his projects he is yet emerging. “What my father calls this is the process and the event. Before the event takes place there is a process that people don’t like to really discuss. I used to hear the minister say ‘I used to drink, but I don’t drink no more’ so right off the bat you think it was instantaneous. But he might be saying he don’t drink no more, but the breakthrough was just last week and it’s been a five year fight. A process.”

So today he is poised less for revival than for continued emergence. Today is more metamorphosis than a resurrection, because Martin is in process. Get ready for the main event.

— interview by Melanie Clark

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