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Sunday 09 April 2017

Get to know Jamaica's first openly gay artist Diana King

Posted in: Entertainment
By - 27th November 2015

We take a closer look at the lesbian reggae singer who has been chosen to replace Beenie Man at the Raggamuffin Festival this coming February.

The first ever Jamaican artist to publicly come out, Diana King shot to fame in the 1990s with the hit single ‘Shy Guy’.

Coming out in 2012, after spending years dodging rumours about her sexuality, King has since performed at a number of Pride events and announced her engagement to her partner of nine years.

The Jamaican singer, who now holds US citizenship, came out in a post on her Facebook page, writing: “I am… woman… mother… aunt… Jamaican… American… international artiste… singer… songwriter… band leader… friend… lover… entrepreneur… goddess! among other things and yes!!!… I am a lesbian [sic].”

“I have always been afraid to admit it openly because of the unknown of what it may cause negatively, to me, my career, my family and loved ones” she wrote. “But I realised that it is not my job to make others comfortable.”

She later said coming out was “one of the most terrifying things” she has ever done.

Diana King and her partner at the Dinah Shore Weekend in 2013.
The headlining act in 2013 at the largest lesbian event in the world, following her Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend debut, King discussed coming out:

“My country still has a far way to go,” she said.

”Everyday holds a casualty from gaybashing. It's sad, the pace is slow but more and more people are rising up. I suspect there will be some fight from the remaining states in America, but I truly hope Florida, where I live and all others will fall in line and move forward as well. It's only fair.”

She said moving back to Jamaica would be “many steps backward”.

Both King and Beenie Man first found fame in Jamaica where homosexuality is still illegal and violent homophobia is a part of the national culture.

- 27th November 2015

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