Martha Diaz (MD) is an award-winning community organizer, media producer, archivist, curator, educator, and founder of the Hip Hop Education Center. MD has traversed the Hip Hop entertainment industry, the public arts and education sector, and the academy over the past 30 years. Her passion is advancing social justice and transforming communities through media, technology, and social entrepreneurship, while also lecturing internationally and facilitating workshops on archiving and curating Hip Hop and using it as a medium for education, cultural exchange, and the advancement of human rights. Through her exhibitions, and publications of research reports, books, and curricula, she has chronicled Hip Hop history to preserve its cultural value and memory. MD founded the highly acclaimed Hip Hop Odyssey (H2O) International Film Festival, the first festival of its kind. MD was invited to curate the first Hip Hop movie series presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and served as a guest curator at the Museum of the Moving Image and The Schomburg Center.
A graduate of New York University’s Gallatin School for Individualized Study and Tisch School of the Arts Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program, MD has worked on archival projects with Parkwood Entertainment (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter), Tupac Shakur Estate, Ralph McDaniels’ Video Music Box Collection, and The Paley Center for Media, to name a few. Among her numerous fellowships, MD has served as a Senior Fellow at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation – National Museum of American History, A’Lelia Bundles Community Scholar at Columbia University, Nasir Jones Fellow at Harvard University, and Senior MacArthur Civic Media Fellow at the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. MD was a Visiting Scholar at Virginia Union University, and is currently a professor of Hip Hop and inaugural Fellow at the Center for Creative and Entertainment Arts at Virginia State University. She also serves as an advisor and associate archivist and curator for the Universal Hip Hop Museum.