My name is ShaGasyia “Shea” Diamond. I’m a singer/songwriter born in Little Rock, Arkansas. I was raised in Memphis & moved to Flint, Michigan with my family for a better life. I was born into a gender role that I did not accept & I didn’t feel like myself. I knew at a very young age I loved to sing. My voice was effeminate and I remember feeling afraid to sing in the church choir. The fear of my own voice left me feeling like an outcast.
No longer able to hide my truth, I ran away from home at 14 years old, becoming a temporary ward of the state. I grew tired of the shuffle from foster home to foster home, so at 17yrs I was emancipated and sought out independent living. Desperate to find the financial means to transition to my true gender, I committed a crime in 1999 and was sentenced to 10 years in a men's prison. I was afraid that I could possibly die in a prison system designed to ensure correctional jobs over human lives.
While incarcerated, I spent time talking to other like-minded women of trans experience about their stories. It was because of these women and the community I was a part of in prison where I really found my voice. I was locked up but my mind was free!
I began writing “I Am Her” as a statement to a world that said I shouldn't exist. I wrote it as an anthem for all those that felt shunned for simply being who they were. In 2009 I was released from prison. Shortly after my release, I moved to New York City –a place where I felt I could make my musical dreams come true. It was in NYC where I found a studio to record “I Am Her” and also the means and support to create a video for my song.
“I Am Her” means that no matter how the world treats me, no matter if I’m rejected, accepted, denied or misunderstood, I will continue to live out my truth as Shea Diamond! It was in losing the world that I found myself & the will to keep living as the woman I am proud to be.