Meet the Co-Founder of Atlanta’s Culture Collision
Meet Raphael Mosley, aka Prizm Gawd, a former music producer turned trading card collector and now co-founder of the trade show Culture Collision. Since leaving his native Chicago for Atlanta, the jack-of-all-trades has become a mainstay in the trading card community, helping transform an industry that’s working to be more inclusive and pushing toward an expansive vision of The Hobby that includes trading cards, sneakers, comic books, and other collectibles.
As he prepares for the 2024 Culture Collision to begin on January 26th, we sat down with Mosley to discuss how he founded the trade show, got into The Hobby, and more in the latest installment of Collector Stories.
What inspired Culture Collision, and how has it evolved?
The easy answer is that my wife told me I had to do a card shop or a card show, but the idea started at The National. It’s a combination of The National and me doing my podcast, The Prizm Gawd Show, with my buddy Mark. We were always trying to figure out ways to talk about the problems that nobody wanted to discuss. It was important to us because anytime there’s a problem, most people don’t want to take on those problems and try to figure out solutions. And I wanted to make the idea of The National better. This is the pinnacle of a card show, but I can improve it. So, Culture Collison came about through conversations with my wife, and my best friend, Jessie, and bouncing ideas off other people. Some people thought I was crazy; others said, I don’t know. But it’s worked.
How did your love for collecting culminate into running a show?
Growing up as a kid, I never saw many people who looked like me in this space. As a man, nothing changed. But I got back into the space by talking and having conversations with my best friend. I got back into it in 2016. I was dealing with a really bad marriage, and that led me to focus on something that made me happy. And I engulfed myself totally in sports cards. And at the time, my friend was like, let’s go to a card show. So that became my outlet at that time. And every weekend, I just wanted to go to a card show, which helped save my life because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had a background in music – I used to be a music producer – I was bootstrapping a company where I learned a little bit about marketing but needed more direction. So, I eventually decided to utilize all the things I’ve learned in life and put it all together to make it make sense. So here comes Culture Collision.
What are your personal favorite cards?
My Jay-Z Superfractor is my favorite card. Jay-Z Topps Finest Superfractor. I’m also about to finish this Topps Chrome Master Set. I’m missing four cards, three Superfractors, and one gold. Once I put that together, I’ll be done with Jay-Z stuff.
But honestly, I’ve been getting more into autographed stuff. I picked up a Michael Jackson autographed deed to his house. One of my favorite pieces is non-sports cards, another collectible space I like. I also like my Tupac auto. I’ve got three to four pieces that people have offered crazy numbers for, but I think I’m going to keep those. It’s for the culture.
The Gawd’s Tupac Auto.
The Gawd’s Michael Jackson house deed.
What makes Culture Collision different from its competitors?
We try to make our shows less transactional. Most shows are very transactional. Buy, sell, trade, that’s it. The idea for me is creating an experience. We want to focus on an experience. That’s why we did the charity basketball game and had a live draft. It was interactive. I want to create something cool; I want creators to think of Culture Collision as a place where you can have fun. We’re going to make money, you’re going to network with your favorite sponsors and people, and you’re going to have a good time. I wanted to create something to include people new to The Hobby and trading cards. That’s one reason why we included sneakers and comic books. I believe there have to be gateways. The traditional gateways in our space have been retail, hobby shops, and card shows. I wanted to open up more avenues for people to get into the space.
Why are diversity and inclusion important in the trading card community?
It’s important because there are challenges. Like, I don’t have the relationships. What I mean by that is I have relationships with vendors but not so much with sponsors. How can I build a relationship with people if I’m not invited to those rooms with sponsors? It involves being a minority in a space working to evolve, but who knows? Sometimes, it’s also tough to get support. I feel like we don’t get all the support that we can. But when you come to Culture Collision, one of the main emphases is building more inclusion. You’ll see more minorities at Culture Collision than at most trading card shows. And I think that creates a more comfortable environment for collectors. What Culture Collision has done, whether people will say it or not, is it opened up people’s eyes and challenged the bigger shows who came before us to step their game up regarding diversity and inclusion. That was our goal, to begin with. This should be a space that everyone feels like they have access to.
What can people expect from Culture Collision?
High energy, and I’m going to leave it at that. We have a vibe.