Shea Diamond

Shea Diamond by Morgan T Stuart

“Most people live their whole lives feeling unseen, unheard, or silenced,” Shea Diamond tells GO. “I was one of those people before I discovered the power of music.” The singer-songwriter might now be living her dream, but as a Black transgender woman, she has lived through some difficult times to get here. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Diamond found herself putting on a masculine front for her family and society, even though she knew she was a girl. “I should have gotten an Oscar,” she says of that time in her life. At 14, unable to deal with the pressures of living in secret, Diamond ran away from home. After a desperate burglary attempt to obtain funds for sex reassignment surgery, she was incarcerated in the men’s prison system for 10 years. Ironically, it was during this time that she found her identity — and her voice — by writing songs. After being released, she moved to NYC and got involved with trans activism. A performance of her hit song “I Am Her” at a Black Trans Lives Matter event caught the attention of her now-producer Justin Tranter. Since the release of her GLAAD Media Award-nominated EP “Seen It All,” Diamond and Tranter have co-written a number of stand-alone singles including “Smile” and “Presence of a Legend,” a tribute to Chicago transgender icon Gloria Allen. —NT

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