Martha Diaz (MD) is a community organizer, media producer, archivist, curator, and educator. MD is one of Women’s eNews distinguished 21 Leaders for the 21st Century whose work has traversed the hip-hop entertainment industry, the public arts sector, and the academy over the last 25 years. Her passion is innovating and transforming communities through media, technology, and Hip-Hop.
She began her career while studying Communications and Television and Film Production as an undergraduate student at Fairleigh Dickinson University. MD has worked in Hollywood and on independent movie productions creating short films, TV shows, documentaries, and music videos. As an educator, she has taught middle and high school students in Harlem and the Bronx and was an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Gallatin School. In 2002, MD founded the Hip-Hop Odyssey (H2O) International Film Festival, the first and largest festival of its kind. She had the honor 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. In 2010, as a Graduate student at the Gallatin School, MD formed the Hip-Hop Education Center to research, cultivate and formalize the field of hip-hop-based education.
She has published research papers on hip-hop education and is co-editor of the Hip-Hop Education Guidebook, Vol. I ( 2007) and Rebel Music: Resistance Through Hip Hop and Punk (2015). Diaz also earned an M.A. in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. MD was a Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Curator/Scholar at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Community Scholar at Columbia University, and The Nasir Jones Fellow at Harvard University. She is currently completing the New School Creation Fellowship at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education.