“Oh Lord Have Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!”: Jamaican Singer Diana King Comes Out as a Lesbian

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Oh lord have MERCY, MERCY, MERCY! Diana King, internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter and self-proclaimed “GODDESS” has shocked the world with the daring declaration that she is in fact a a Lesbian!

Diana was born on November 8, 1970 in Spanish Town, Jamaica, to an Indian-Jamaican Father and African mother. Known for her unique blend of R&B, Reggae and Dancehall, Diana exploded onto the music scene in the early 90’s with hits such as “Shy Guy,” “Respect” and “I Say a Little Prayer” (featured as a major theme song in the romcom, “My Best Friend’s Wedding”).

On Thursday, June 28, via her Facebook page, she wrote candidly about her reasons for having kept silent about her sexuality in the past. Her “Coming Out Facebook Note” recounted the struggle she faced as a Jamaican woman in the public eye wanting to live her life openly but fearing rejection from her country.

Other out, gay Jamaican artists such as award-winning slam poet Staceyann Chin, and reknown author Thomas Glave have written extensively about the experiences of LGBT people in Jamaica, some of which Diana echoed in her post; people could be persecuted (and even killed) based on pure suspicion of their sexuality.

Given the intensely homphobic environment under which many Jamaicans have grown up (and still live), we are deeply moved by Diana’s courage to come out. We have no doubt that her breaking the silence on this issue will inspire and encourage other Jamaicans, Caribbean folk and diaspora everywhere, and give them hope.

You can read Diana’s full message here, or enjoy our compiled a list of our favorite quotes from her note.

1) I AM … WOMAN … MOTHER … AUNT … JAMAICAN … AMERICAN … INTERNATIONAL ARTIST … SINGER … SONGWRITER … BAND LEADER … FRIEND … LOVER … ENTREPRENEUR … GODDESS! among other things AND YES!!!…I AM A LESBIAN … the answer to my most asked INDIRECT question.

2) I believe by not answering or hiding it all these years somehow makes it appear as if I AM ASHAMED OF IT or THAT I BELIEVE IT IS WRONG. I FEEL NEITHER OF THOSE THINGS …

3) This here, that I’m doing, is my road. Not everyone will OR is required to travel this way. Some people will carry this fact about themselves to the grave and that’s their prerogative but, a “GOOD” reputation can be a GIGANTIC LOAD in a girls backpack.

4) I realized that it is not my job to make others COMFORTABLE, I AM ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR MY LIFE, the stuff U think about on your deathbed and at this point in my life I DO NOT CARE about the things that FRIGHTEN me anymore.

5) I fly my country’s flag HIGH. Always with respect and honor everywhere I go,…But I often wonder, if JAMROCK would have STILL been proud of me if they knew the truth from the days of SHY GUY.

I am not seeking anyone’s approval.

6) I have MUCH RESPECT and deep ADMIRATION for all those who have COME OUT before me, Dead or Alive. I have stood on the sidelines COVETING your bravery. YOU and LOVE have given me the COURAGE.

7) I could have STAYED SAFE AND HIDDEN but for me, IT WOULD MEAN THAT ALL THOSE WHO HAVE DIED for BEING LIKE ME … ALL DIED IN VAIN. JUST LIKE BLACK PEOPLE WHO DIED FOR ME SO THAT I COULD HAVE THE OPPORTUNITIES AND RIGHTS I NOW HAVE … WOULD HAVE ALL DIED IN VAIN (and if U think some of them weren’t gay and lesbian as well U R sadly mistaken)

8) WE ARE everywhere and everyone whether U acknowledge US or not. WE R people U love and cannot live without. WE bring U joy and entertain U. Some of U have even gotten married and made love to our songs, repeated our quotes and have our Art hanging in your homes. WE save your lives in hospitals and in wars, WE defend U in the courts and stand up for your rights WE design the clothes and shoes U just have to have and cannot live without U hand us your money at the banks WE fly U to the beautiful and exciting places U love to travel to WE give U knowledge and inspiration everyday with our words, music and dance. U eat in our restaurants and U dance in our noughtclubs. WE hold your hands and pray for U on your deathbeds. WE deliver your babies and WE marry U WE R your NEIGHBORS your FRIENDS and your FAMILY.

9) I am not seeking anyone’s approval.

10) I cannot tell where this will lead but I KNOW, I WILL B ALRIGHT and just like ths status I posted a few day ago, I have two options, “I KNOW not just BELIEVE, THAT IF I LEAP OFF THIS LEDGE INTO THE DARKNESS OF WHAT IS UNCERTAIN … I WILL EITHER LAND ON MY FEET ON SOMETHING STRONG or I WILL GROW WINGS AND FLY.

Have you read Diana King’s coming out Facebook note? What did you think about it? What were your favorite quotes? Do you more Caribbean artists coming out, including recent apology from the Beenie Man to the LGBT community, means more LGBT tolerance in Jamaica? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/saba.teklu.5 Saba Teklu

    This is the first time I’ve ever heard of Diana King but I really enjoyed the excerpts from her note. MY favorite: “WE ARE everywhere and everyone whether U acknowledge US or not. WE R
    people U love and cannot live without. WE bring U joy and entertain U.”

    She’s experiencing not only as an individual but as a representation for who she is and the group of people she identifies with.

    I think Jamaica has been making awesome strides. In June they had their first recognized Lesbian wedding (http://www.ebony.com/photos/love-sex/photos-jamaicas-first-lesbian-couple-weds) and like you said with Beenie man apologizing these One Love ideals are coming to surface :)

  • Natalie Weng

    I was really struck by tenth note. I guess it really resonated with me because I am really afraid of the unknown. I am afraid of what will happen when I open my closet doors. like what Diana king said, I’ll either face plant or fly. But, she’s quite an inspiration.

  • Kalendenator

    I don’t think it’s more LGBT tolerance in Jamaica but it’s certainly good steps in the right direction for Jamaica’s gay rights movement. If more “socially respected” people come out, that will counter what most people in predominantly anti-gay countries like Jamaica say or think of LGBT persons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1313653577 facebook-1313653577

    Thanks to her! Now millions of teens can see all this right on their PC’s in the privacy of their own closets!

  • http://twitter.com/eshowoman Friday Foster

    This is incredibly brave the combination of patriarchy & homophobia in my beloved Jamaican is off the charts. I am straight but I am sure that their are whispers about me because I am the only member of my generation who has not been married and I whole heartedly accept my baby cousin’c decision to come out at 17. Kudos to you Ms. King.

  • citizen477

    Good for her. Proud of you girl. You make Jamaicans like me very, very proud! Walk tall! Walk tall!

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  • http://twitter.com/Kudosforever WHER Initiative

    I love these quotes, 1. a “GOOD” reputation can be a GIGANTIC LOAD in a girls backpack and 2. “I KNOW not just BELIEVE, THAT IF I LEAP OFF THIS LEDGE INTO THE
    DARKNESS OF WHAT IS UNCERTAIN … I WILL EITHER LAND ON MY FEET ON
    SOMETHING STRONG or I WILL GROW WINGS AND FLY.”

    She is brave, very brave, i know most people will be motivated by her coming out, cos i deeply am motivated.

    We will keep WOW-ing the world.

  • djanah d

    As Black people, we came a long way from being mistreated, murdered, called any kind of names, made to feel wrong about the way we look, our ancestors died in the middle passage from Africa to the Caribbean, America, Brazil, etc.. and that what we are becoming today the spitting image of the people that enslave us raped us (male or female), I ask all my ancestors and for the ONES that died for US, BLACKS, to forgive what we are doing today, and to HELPS US because we need all their HELP.
    I am Heterosexual and proud of it. Whe can come out too. Very disappointed that she will advertise her bedroom activity that way. She got 2 kids. I was always wondering how did she make it so big in America. I understand now, she done the Homosexual thing to get famous, what a liar. Lying to the general public that way shame on you Diana King. I loved your music, but I did not know you are a liar. Singing SHY GUY, LIE LIE , yes you definetely LIE LIE. You feel you can tell the truth now as you want to look good in the Music Industry as they all are homosexuals, or maybe you need a real music contract. Do not worry they will come to give you a lovely music contract as you sold your soul. What a shame such a beautiful Black woman. You need a real man in your life. Poor Kids, Poor Jamaica is just a matter of time before it becomes the SODOME of the caribbean.