Jay-Z's mom, Gloria Carter, made headlines back in June when she came out as a lesbian on the rapper's highly-anticipated album "4:44." Now, the mom-of-four has opened up about her famous son's emotional reaction to hearing the news for the first time.
"Me and my son, we share a lot of information. I was sitting there and... I just finally started telling him who I was," Carter told the D'ussé Friday podcast on Tuesday. "Besides your mother, this is the person that I am, this is the life that I live. So my son actually started tearing, because he was like, 'That had to be a horrible life, Ma.' And I was like, 'My life was never horrible, it was just different.' So that made him want to do a song about it."
I was never ashamed of me. But in my family, it was something that was never discussed.
Carter went on to reveal that she was skeptical about the song at first. "When it first happened, I was sharing myself [with Jay], not to share myself with the world," she said.
However, after having multiple conversations with her son, she decided this was her chance to share her true identity with her family. "I was never ashamed of me. But in my family, it was something that was never discussed," Carter explained. "I'm tired of all the mystery. I'm gonna give it to 'em. ... Now it's time for me to live my life and be happy, be free."
Carter's coming out is featured on Jay-Z's song "Smile." In the nearly five-minute tune, the rapper revealed his acceptance of his mother's sexual identity.
"Mama had four kids, but she's a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she's a thespian," he raps. "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."
Gloria also appears on the track to close out the song with beautiful spoken word.
But life is short, and it's time to be free / Love who you love, because life isn't guaranteed.
"Living in the shadow / Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live?" she asks. "The world is changing and they say it's time to be free / But you live with the fear of just being me. Living in the shadow feels like the safe place to be / No harm for them, no harm for me / But life is short, and it's time to be free / Love who you love, because life isn't guaranteed."
Jay-Z's song about his mother's coming out is a significant one, as rap has historically been known to be homophobic, though artists have made more progressive strides in recent years.
"To be a rap fan that identifies as anything other than male and straight is to wade against a current pushing back at your very being, to be constantly driven by your heart to decisions your mind ought to reject," New York Magazine writer Craig Jenkins noted in a piece for Vulture.
To be a rap fan that identifies as anything other than male and straight is to wade against a current pushing back at your very being.
"Artists accept your patronage, but twist the knife by peppering music with insults and slurs, and interviews with attempts to create distance from hate and discrimination even as they flirt with the very linguistics of the stuff."
Despite this, Jay-Z has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ community. Back in 2012, for instance, he revealed his support of same-sex marriage.
"I've always thought [not allowing same-sex marriage] as something that was still, um, holding the country back," he told CNN at the time. "What people do in their own homes is their business, and you can choose to love whoever you love. That's their business."
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