Magazine article Mother Jones

2pac 4ever

Magazine article Mother Jones

2pac 4ever

Article excerpt

When Martha Diaz, a shy child of Colombian immigrants, first discovered hip-hop at a breakdance battle circa 1980, she was smitten. "I busted loose," she remembers. "It became my family, my life." Now 49, Diaz is a hip-hop educator and archivist, preserving the artifacts, images, and sounds of stars such as Nas, Beyoncé, and most recently Tupac Shakur, the subject of a traveling exhibition she will curate to accompany director Steve McQueen's upcoming documentary on the late rapper. Here's how Diaz describes her craft:

"The archivist never determines what to throw away or keep. We identify duplicates and make recommendations. Everything has value-even matches, a pen. Something you think is insignificant-a napkin-it may have something written on it, a lipstick mark.

"Working for the Tupac estate is a dream job. We have everything from jewelry to furniture to a car, fan mail, every document referring to his businesses and family history. …

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