Martha Diaz, founder of the Hip-Hop Association and the Womanhood Learning Project, is a community organizer, educator, media producer, archivist and social entrepreneur. And now she can add the role of speaker at Kentucky State University to her long list.

“Planting the Seed for Harvest” was the theme of Diaz’s talk with more than 60 students Friday at the Student Center Ballroom during the Latino Educational Empowerment Forum on Friday.

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Martha Diaz proudly sports her gift — a Kentucky State University hat.

“I have a story I want to share,” Diaz said. “And tools that you can use to manifest your dreams.”

Growing up Columbian-American, Diaz described herself as a “latch-key kid” who never wanted to leave the house and sat in front of the TV for hours in New York. It wasn’t until later in the eighth grade when some break dancers caught her attention that she was exposed to the world of hip-hop.

“I found a family, a way to express myself, a whole other way to live through hip-hop. The music politicized me,” Diaz said.

Diaz’s passion for hip-hop inspired her to create a hip-hop education center at New York University where she teaches a course on hip-hop. Diaz also formed the H2O International Film Festival and later developed the Hip-Hop Association [H2A].

She is now striving to take a global approach and offer all archives and resources online through her own initiative.

Through her personal endeavors, she encourages students to “find ways to break down the ceiling roof, walls, doors and create more.”

Diaz was just “a girl from the hood, who worked her way up.”

— Bria Perry, KSU staff writer