Martha Diaz is a community organizer, media producer, archivist, curator, mentor, and educator. Diaz 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. Diaz has worked in Hollywood and on independent movie productions creating short films, TV shows, documentaries, and music videos. In 2010, Diaz formed the Hip Hop Education Center to 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 has served as a Fellow at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation – National Museum of American History, first Hip Hop Scholar-In-Residence at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Bundles Scholar at Columbia University, and The Nasir Jones Fellow at Harvard University. Diaz 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. Diaz is currently a Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab where she is designing the first virtual hip hop school.
Rich Nice goes down in music history as the first rapper signed to Motown. He then toured for a few years before helping to create Track Masters Entertainment where he wore multiple hats as Marketing Director/A&R.
As A&R Executive, Columbia Records: Responsible for a huge artist roster, worked closely with the Presidents of Black Music and Tommy Mottola. During his tenure at Columbia notable projects: Maxwell, Fugees, Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, Jermaine Dupri, Mary Mary, Best Man soundtrack, Nas, Destiny’s Child, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Will Smith, and Michael Jackson. He then expanded his reach to Theatre and supervised music for “Def Poetry” on Broadway working closely with Director Stan Lathan and the entire original cast, the show won a Tony Award. As a Consultant/ Producer he’s worked with Multi-Platinum artist/actor Ludacris and his Disturbing Tha Peace label DTP/Capitol, & DTP/DEF JAM. The Fast & Furious Soundtrack, Pitbull, 2Chainz, Chingy, Snoop, Too Short, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Deborah Cox, Just Blaze, Marsha Ambrosius, Bilal, Rene Neufville, The Marleys, Krs One, Rakim, Kool Herc the Father of Hip Hop, Kanye West, Dj Premier, Rick Rubin, Dj A-Track, Ford Motors, Mountain Dew, McDonald’s, Microsoft Xbox, NIKE, MTV, VH-1, BET, WE, TEMPO Networks. As an independent, Rich has worked at high levels within entertainment. Creating a platform called The A&R Room to discover new talent, which can be heard on Sway in the morning, Shade 45 Channel on Sirius/XM. Currently, a consultant, Hip Hop musicologist, the Associate Director of the Hip Hop Education Center, creating curriculum for the Universal Hip Hop Museum, and an Adjunct Professor teaching Music Entrepreneurship and Broadcast Theory.
Kashema Hutchinson is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has a B.A. in Communications: Advertising/Public Relations and an M.A. in Social Research. She is a Doctoral Fellow and Co-Director of the Undergraduate Leadership Program at Futures Initiative at the CUNY Graduate Center. For the over three years, Kashema has facilitated discussion groups with incarcerated male and female participants in the New York City Department of Corrections facilities as well as alternative schools. Her research interests include, but are not limited to the school-to-prison pipeline, socialization of Black girls and women, zero-tolerance policies, mattering and marginalization, mindfulness and hip-hop pedagogy. Kashema synthesizes rap culture with everyday life, such as turning Yo Gotti’s “Rake It Up” into a how-to guide for writing. She also creates and uses hip-hop infographics as tools to facilitate discussion topics such as the role of women and history, philosophy, behavioral economics, crime and class and knowledge of self.
Regan Sommer McCoy Assistant Director, Extra Credit Awards
Sommer is a music industry veteran, information technology professional, and active organizer of projects that bring artists, DJs, techies, and scholars together to preserve hip-hop history and promote hip-hop education. She founded The Mixtape Museum (MXM): an archive project dedicated to advancing public understanding and appreciation of the art, history, and technique of the mixtape. MXM explores how mixtapes changed the landscape of music, encourages protection of DJ-produced mixtapes in danger of deterioration, and seeks to achieve systematic preservation in the DJ community. She has over 15 years of experience in the music industry, most notably as a manager to Virginia hip-hop duo Clipse and continues to consult musicians, DJs, and brands. In 2007, she joined the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) where she is the Database Manager & Digital Media Associate. She is a Charter Member of the William & Mary Hip-Hop Collection and is a member of hip-hop theater company Rhymes Over Beats. She sits on the Board of Directors of Minds Behind the Music and on the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame’s Artifacts, Exhibits, and Preservation Committee. In April 2016, Sommer organized the first Hip-Hop Hacks, a hackathon for students to explore technology’s role in hip-hop and how the most popular genre in the world inspires technological innovation. She will begin her tenure as a Columbia University Community Scholar in September 2016.