We had the good fortune of connecting with LáDeia Joyce, MBA and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi LáDeia, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am Memphis born. Atlanta forged and Brooklyn propelled. Always a Memphis girl is how I describe myself. No matter what city I move to on this journey called life, the city of grit and grind will ALWAYS be home. Growing up in the inner city with parents who are an interesting balance of church and street instilled in me a VERY unique perspective early on in life. My upbringing birthed a little Black girl who danced to the beat of her own drum before it was popular and carried a righteous indignation before she could even spell the term.
It has GREATLY impacted me and my work. I know I could not be the woman I am today – a Black woman living her life out loud, thriving with an HIV diagnosis while championing for the rights and raising the concerns of others living with this virus. It takes a certain kind of background that ingrains chutzpah and moxie in a little Black girl to birth this caliber of woman who gets to witness, in real time, how her showing up in life leaves a positively, impactful imprint on all she encounters.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
positivelyDeia is a comprehensive platform effectively used to document my journey as a Black woman thriving with HIV. I started this platform because after being diagnosed with HIV, God told me that I would need to be what it was I was seeking. Black women are of the most underserved communities being impacted by HIV.
My multi-faceted platform focuses on awareness, advocacy, and alignment – from a Black woman for Black women. Through ongoing interactive presentations and active support communities, I am changing the face and the stigma associated with HIV and Black women and its effects on the Black community. I am empowering women to overcome adversities, educating Black women on how to champion women living with HIV, equipping them, irrespective of HIV status, with the skills and language to navigate healthy sex practices and experiences and supporting women ready to beat the odds and live a happy, healthy, and healed life after diagnosis.
I get excited when a sista inboxes me and tells me she had the testing talk with a new boo. It warms my heart when I can help a fellow HIV sister role play what she’s going to say and how she’s going to disclose her status with a new love interest. Explaining what to ask for at an annual to ensure that a full panel is being performed, strengthening the self-advocacy of someone that looks like me is indescribable. This is heart work for me. Its ministry and I am Godly proud of the work I have been blessed to do.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Since my best friend is also a Memphis native, let’s say my Brooklyn crew came down for a weekend. Friday night, tapas, drinks and music at Tailor’s Union or Wknd Hang Suite. Saturday morning, we have brunch at Sage Memphis followed by a tour of National Civil Museum and the Black Heritage Tour given by Heritage Tours. Later on, dinner at Hen House Memphis and if we feel like ordering bottles and standing on couches to Love Memphis we go. Sunday morning service at Al Green’s Full Gospel Tabernacle Church is a must followed by $3 mimosas at Automatic Slim’s for brunch. Good food, good people and history.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate my shoutout to my tribe. That’s what I call my loved ones that have shown up and shown out in my life. Before my diagnosis, I was the girl that was there for everyone and everything. If you needed me, I came running. However after being told I was HIV-positive, that girl had to take a moment and focus on herself. I started calling it radical selfcare. Whatever it took for me to be happy, healthy and whole in EVERY aspect of my life, I had to do that. This caused me to take a beat for the first time in my life and invest all my energy into myself. Some friends and family members walked away. Others rose to the occasion and gave me reprieve. I am forever grateful for those that stayed and allowed me to put some of this weight on them. Tribe, for your encouragement, support and love – I thank you. I appreciate you. I love you.