Martha Diaz 

Founding Director 

Martha Diaz is an award-winning 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 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 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, an A’Leila Bundles Scholar at Columbia University, Nasir Jones Fellow at Harvard University, and Senior MacArthur Civic Media Fellow at the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. Diaz is currently a Visiting Scholar at Virginia Union University and Chair of Archives, Curatorial, and Educational Affairs at the Universal Hip Hop Museum.

Dr. Kashema Hutchinson

Associate Director

Fresh, Bold & So Def Women in Hip-Hop

Kashema Hutchinson,  Ph.D. is a Professor in Urban Education at the CUNY. She has a B.A. in Communications: Advertising/Public Relations and an M.A. in Social Research. She is 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.