Meet the First Lady of Culture Collision
Meet Joyce Jade, aka Prizm Gawdess, a dynamic entrepreneur, beauty mogul, and one of the masterminds behind Culture Collision, the groundbreaking Atlanta-based trade show—the very first of its kind to be African-American-run. In this exclusive interview, we delve into Joyce Jade’s captivating journey, from her initial plunge into the world of trading cards to her remarkable success as a businesswoman. We also uncover how she, alongside her husband Prizm Gawd, navigates the world of card collecting and orchestrates the cultural phenomenon that is Culture Collision.
How did you and Prizm Gawd put Culture Collision together?
First and foremost, Raphael [Prizm Gawd] is a visionary when it comes to this thing, and it’s not an easy task. Learning more about the card industry made me realize it wasn’t all about buying and selling cards. I told Raphael he needed to do something else, which is how Culture Collision came about. I asked Raphael: Do you want to do a shop or do you want to do a show? He chose to do a show. Even then, we didn’t know what the heck we were doing. We just managed to put our heads together and get it done. He initially came up with the idea of incorporating sneakers into the show. That was really right up my alley because one of the things that brought us together was sneakers. I collect shoes and also used to buy and sell them years ago. He used to buy and sell as well, so we both were already in that room of things. Realistically, sneakers are a part of our culture, so when he came up with this idea to combine trading cards with sneakers and comic books, I thought it was amazing.
When did you get into The Hobby?
I originally got into the hobby directly through Raphael [Prizm Gawd]. I didn’t know anything about cards or even realize cards were a thing. My first experience with cards was getting them out of bubble gum packs and putting them in my bike spokes to hear a clicking noise as I rode down the street. When I met him, I saw what he was doing with the cards – buying and reselling. After watching him for a while, I decided I wanted to learn because I saw an opportunity. My first adult experience with cards was helping Raphael find Zion Williamson cards for retail when Zion was really, really popular. This was maybe a year or so before COVID hit. Before you knew it, I got addicted to ripping wax, but it all ended up paying off. That time period was definitely a win for me!
What’s your background before card collecting?
I’ve been an entrepreneur for 21 years, starting my first company when I was 19. So, I’ve always been an entrepreneur and love every aspect of running a company. I opened up the School of Glamology in 2012, which is a national beauty school that offers certifications in advanced beauty techniques. The other aspect of the school is my nine-month esthetics program to help beauty professionals become licensed estheticians in Georgia. My school and programs are based on teaching others how to become entrepreneurs in the beauty industry. That’s what I do, as my passion is beauty and business. Once we got into cards and started Culture Collision, that also became one of my passions.
Traditionally, African Americans and women have been underrepresented in The Hobby. What has your experience in the industry been like so far?
It’s been a fantastic learning experience. At first, it was really uncomfortable being in a room full of men who didn’t know who I was, and they didn’t look like me. Some are very judgy, and it’s not a good feeling to get looked at as if you don’t have any money or can’t afford a particular card – especially not knowing I could afford to buy their entire case! I’ve experienced walking up to a vendor who sees you coming and closes his case as you walk up. Things like that are very demeaning, and I had to learn how not to let it bother me. Raphael helped me with that tremendously.
Things are changing now as people become aware of who I am. It’s no different than the rest of the world, where the black woman is undervalued and has to prove to the world who she is. It can still be challenging and discouraging at times. The more I show my face, the more welcoming people become, but more work still needs to be done. I remember when I first came into this a few years ago and set up at a show, people would take advantage of me because I didn’t know what I was doing. For example, showing me a comp on a card from two years ago to get that price. I didn’t know much about comping cards then, but that’s not something that could happen to me now.
Do you see the collectible space becoming more inclusive?
I see it becoming more inclusive, but in my opinion, it’s up to black people in the trading card community to promote that inclusivity. We have to be the ones to go out to our communities and introduce cards to them. We have to be the ones to create a sense of awareness in our communities where collecting may not be as popular. I didn’t know cards were a thing until I met Raphael, and when I first started going to card shows, I barely saw any minorities. As I continue attending more card shows, I see more and more people of color showing up, and it’s refreshing. Even with Culture Collision, we’re one of the most inclusive, if not the most inclusive, shows out there. As long as we keep teaching our people about this, our audience will continue to grow, and that’s something I look forward to.
Finally, what’s your personal collection holy grails?
When I first started collecting cards, I used to collect a lot of Zion Williamson; Zion was the thing then. I had a lot of fun then and even made my Christmas tree with Zion base cards as the ornaments. As I explored my understanding of being a collector, I began collecting Black pieces, which are my favorite. I love anything that has to do with our people and history. Raphael just got me this Aaliyah sticker, the one where she’s blowing bubble gum, which is my favorite card right now. I also have some LeBron cards, like the 2003-04 Topps Chrome Black Refractor & the 2007 Bowman Chrome Gold.