Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DIANA KING, The First Jamaican Artist To Ever Come Out & Dinah 2013 Performer, Puts A Ring On It!

Turning "Impossible" into "I'm Possible" with dreams of Dinah and end of DOMA coming True!

If you attended Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend 2013 in Palm Springs, CA, you surely remember the electrifying performance by the iconic Diana King at our Sunday Pool Party.
The Reggae/Dancehall legend, who is responsible for chart topping hits like "Shy Guy" and "Say a Little Prayer", gave such a phenomenal performance and an inspiring speech about her coming out a year ago and breaking a major taboo in Jamaican culture, she instantly became our new hero!

What made King’s speech touching and heartfelt were the personal stories she shared with the crowd about Dinah and DOMA.
She first recounted how ever since watching an episode of "The L Word" she used to dream about performing at Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend - the largest lesbian event in the world – and couldn’t believe her dream had finally come true. Her Dinah performance marked a milestone in the singer’s professional music career being the first time EVER she played at a Lesbian event.
Moving on to Marriage Equality, she proceeded to explain how her 7-year relationship with her Jamaican girlfriend Simone had over the years been extremely challenging as a direct result of DOMA. 
Because Gay marriages until June 26 of this year, were not officially recognized at the federal level, bi-national same –sex couples were not legally allowed to sponsor their “non-American” partners for a green-card, and consequently denied them the right to stay in the United States. For almost a decade Diana and Simone had to deal with the gruesome constraints of a long-distance relationship inflicted by strict immigration laws and, yes, DOMA. 

But they proved that “Love does conquer all!”

Diana King then invited the crowd to “say a little prayer” for change, encouraging all of us to continue the fight for Equality and Love for all.
Who would have thought that 3 months later, Diana King’s wishes would come true!
We decided to catch up with the singer to get her reaction on the U.S. Supreme Court June 26 decisions to strike down DOMA and dismiss Prop 8 in California - marking two historic wins for same sex couples.
And, of course, we also wanted to check if she’ll soon be joining the 24,700 bi-national, same-sex couples in the United States whose marriage are now recognized by the federal government.
Here's our exclusive interview:
Where were you on June 26, 2013, when you heard the news about the U.S. Supreme Court striking down DOMA and dismissing Prop 8?
I actually tried to stay all night up to hear the ruling but the 'zeeez" got the best of me at about 7am. I had asked for what I wanted to happen and released it to the Universe days before so I just went to sleep with "Your Will Be Done" as I drifted off.

What was the first thought that came to your mind?
Honestly, it was "S***T I got powers LOL. Then "THE UNIVERSE HEARD US!!!" then "Uh oh" … I think I'm still in disbelief.

You’ve been with your girlfriend Simone for 7 years. With her having to live in Jamaica and you in Florida due to U.S. immigration law issues, what does the end of DOMA mean for you?
It has been very inconvenient and frustrating for us but I know it could be worse. At least she's able to visit me every couple months (every weekend would raise suspicion as to why she is here so often and may result it denial to enter the U.S. We never knew when she'd run into a jerk at customs) but it is still heart wrenching every time we have to say goodbye. We have been engaged for most of the 7 years and I vowed I'd never get married until we are equal. I was married before to my son's dad so I know first hand what we were being deprived of … NOW I can honor my word.
One of your biggest accomplishments came last year, when you bravely decided to publicly come out, breaking a major taboo in Jamaican culture; The June 26 Supreme Court rulings will surely inspire many of the remaining 37 States to move toward marriage equality. How do you think other countries – especially Jamaica – will react toward the US Supreme Courts historic move toward acceptance, equality and love for all?
It was one of the most terrifying things I had ever done but it was time. I feel honored and proud to be the 1st Jamaican artist to come out. My country still has a far way to go. 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.

Another big personal accomplishment was your Dinah 2013 performance. You were quoted saying that it has always been a dream of yours to perform at an event like Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend considered to be the largest lesbian event in the world, can you explain why and how it has changed your life?
Dinah was my 1st gay event. Since then I've done a hand full of Pride events. It's been awesome.  I remember watching excerpts on the original L WORD and wondering if I'd ever experience it. I imagined just being there but it was even better when I was asked to perform. Events like these cannot take place in Jamaica, it's dangerous. I got so many emails from all over the Caribbean of their wishes of being there or just being at a gathering like this before they die. It felt great to report back, to give some hope. My life is just being lived more authentically since I came out publicly and my visibility started at Dinah.

At The Dinah, you delivered an inspiring, emotionally charged address on civil rights calling for marriage equality; did you ever expect things would actually change so drastically two months later?
I didn't expect it so soon but I definitely dreamt and hoped for it. I had written a note in March "EVEN IF I MARRIED my JAMAICAN GIRLFRIEND of 7 years" on my Facebook page explaining to my friends what it meant since many of them were ignorant about DOMA. I had to explain that even if we got married it pretty much meant nothing but a ritual.

You seem to have the Midas touch for making your dreams come true – performing at The Dinah was one of them, and having DOMA banned another one – what’s third on your bucket list?
I don't have a bucket list, I just go with my flow. Whatever feels right … but I do believe when you free yourself especially from fear you open the doors to limitless possibilities, to all you are born to do and who you are truly meant to be. Everything is possible now.

You immediately reacted to these two historic wins with a tweet containing the hashtag #TimeToPutARingOnIt, are wedding bells in effect now?
To be honest, I am not sentimental when it comes to marriage. But everyone deserves the option to do so if they please. I was raised by two women who were not married, who died a year apart and left me all alone at 17 years old. They gave me so much love I'm still running on it … But in our case, and the time we are living in, it's the only way to be together and delight in the benefits that all my straight married friends enjoy. We also deserve it. For us, It's the only way to have a life together in the same place. Me moving back to Jamaica would be many steps "backward." 
Life can be a very lonely road. It is a blessing when you find someone who you love and loves you back and is willing to take the journey with you to the end.

Speaking about wedding bells, what protocol and etiquette do you think are going to follow when it comes to the LGBT business of tying the knot? Do you get engage first? Who proposes to whom? Do you ask her parents first? Do you change your last name? Do you throw a bachelorette party at The Dinah?
Nowadays anything goes as far a traditions or conventions. People are gonna be very creative, i think. These are the days of all things unorthodox.

What is the most creative way of asking “Will you marry me”, that you’ve heard of?
Sooo, I secretly flew to Jamaica. When I knocked on the door, she was so shocked and in disbelief, that she took off running away from me. I had told her repeatedly that I didn't want a committed relationship and she had been trying to call me the whole day without success, so you can imagine that she was really pissed by this time. When I finally found her in the bedroom covering her face crying on the bed I picked her up and hugged her. I went down on my knees and began reading a letter I had written but I got all choked up so I handed it to her and asked her to read it. By the end of the verse I was asking her to marry me - to "Jam by my side for the whole ride" … We were both crying by then.
Then, I stood up held her and kissed her and the ring was transferred from my mouth to hers.

What’s the best wedding song?
Wow, There are so many ... I'm really loving 'A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri for something more current by but if you wanna go classic, 'Could I have This Dance" by Anne Murray "Here And Now" by Luther Vandrooss "WOMAN" by John Lennon "Because You Love Me" Celine Dion or "Endless Love" by Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie.

What’s next for Diana King now? Are you working on any new projects?
I never say what’s up till it's done but you can expect more music more performances. Sometimes I actually don't know the next step. I just remain open to all I can dream happening and the voice that speaks within and the feeling that says "Yes, this is right for me, do it!" … It's always been like that and I like it like that. The surprise, the suspense, the surrender to the unknown … I am a private person so I never imagined I would ever COME OUT! … see how much I know.

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