“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?