Jamaican reggae singer Diana King has come out as a lesbian.
The 41-year-old who shot to fame in the 1990s with hit single Shy Guy made the announcement on her Facebook page yesterday (28 June).
In the post, King wrote: ‘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].’
The performer who fuses reggae, R&B and dancehall has long been rumored to be gay.
However, King said she decided to come out now ‘not because it’s anyone’s business but because it feels right with my soul’.
‘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 realized that it is not my job to make others comfortable.’
She added that her only regret is that she didn’t come out earlier.
‘Trying to live a lie is horrible, whether gay or straight, for me was the saddest part of it all because it only caused immense pain to everyone involved,’ she said.
‘I have been myself to the fullest all except for when I came to my sexuality.’
The revelation has received almost 200 likes and messages of support from fans.
Nadine Dacosta commented: ‘I don’t care either way, it does not change the fact you are a brilliant artist…more power to you for saying it out loud even tho you owe nobody an explaination.’
Yvonne-Evie Blijden, another Facebook fan, wrote: ‘You go girllll, proud of you 100%, been there. Coming out sets yourself free, so live and enjoy it’s your life and only Jah can judge you.’
Jamaica is frequently described by human rights groups as one of the most homophobic places in the world.
Sex between men is punishable with up to 10 years in prison and Amnesty International has reported that violent abuse of LGBT people is common.
Watch King’s hit song Shy Guy below: