Jay-Z’s mom, Gloria Carter, was honored on Saturday at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York City for her contribution to Jay’s song Smile from his album 4:44. Ms. Carter, who was presented the award by Robin Roberts, discussed the love and support she got from her son when she came out to him as gay.
She said: “Smile became a reality because I shared with my son who I am… For me that was the first time I spoke to anyone about who I really am, my son cried and said, ‘It must have been horrible to live that way for so long.’ My life wasn’t horrible I chose to protect my family from ignorance.”
Describing when she first met her partner: “Love gave me the courage to take the power that I allowed other people to have over my life for fear of them revealing my secret… I am a human being who has a right to love who I love. So everybody, just smile, be free.”
In his song Smile, Jay raps about how life was for his mother before she came out. “Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian. Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian. Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate. Society shame and the pain was too much to take. Cried tears of joy when you fell in love. Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her. I just wanna see you smile through all the hate.”
Gloria is featured on the song where she says, “Living in the shadow. Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live? In the shadows people see you as happy and free. Because that’s what you want them to see. Living two lives, happy, but not free. …But life is short, and it’s time to be free. Love who you love, because life isn’t guaranteed. Smile.”