Martha Diaz is a community organizer, educator, media producer, archivist and social entrepreneur. She has been dedicated to advancing social justice, cultivating leaders and artists, and mentoring youth for over 15 years. She was a production assistant for the late Ted Demme, the TV and film producer/director behind Yo! MTV Raps (1988), Life (1999), Blow (2001)and A Decade Under the Influence (2003). In 1999, Diaz produced and directed, H2O [Hip-Hop Odyssey], a short documentary on the evolution and global impact of Hip-Hop culture. In 2002, Diaz formed the H2O International Film Festival and subsequently developed the Hip-Hop Association [H2A]. For seven years, Diaz served as president and executive director of the H2A; she is currently its chair. Diaz launched H2ONewsreel, the first Hip-Hop media distribution label dedicated to the education field, in collaboration with Third World Newsreel. Diaz co-created and edited the Hip-Hop Education Guidebook Series with Marcella Runell Hall.In 2008, she launched the Womanhood Learning Project as an intervention strategy to empower women in Hip-Hop,and she is the editor of the forthcoming book, Fresh, Bold and So Def: Women In Hip-Hop Changing The Game, with Dr. Irma McClaurin and Dr. Rachel Raimist. As a resident of NJPAC’s Alternate Routes Residency Program, Diaz developed the Ladies First Fund, the first micro-grant for women social entrepreneurs. As a 2008 NYU Gallatin Graduate student and a Catherine B. Reynolds Fellow, she founded the Hip-Hop Education Center for Research, Evaluation and Training, in partnership with Dr. Pedro Noguera of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Behavior.
Teaching and Research Interests
Social entrepreneurship/enterprising; Hip-Hop culture as a tool for education, organizing and social change; Hip-Hop history, archiving and cultural memory; Hip-Hop branding, consumerism and visual/media culture; women in Hip-Hop
B.A. Communications, Fairleigh Dickinson University, 1992 M.A., New York University, 2010
Professor Martha Diaz spoke in April 2014 in Washington, DC, at the One Mic Festival at the Kennedy Center on Remixing Hip-Hop Education and Hip-Hop Feminism. She was the associate producer for the documentary Time Is Illmatic, which was selected to open the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.