JAY-Z’s mother isn’t shy about who she is, and while the “Change Clothes” rapper has been somewhat open about his mother’s sexuality in the past, she has never officially came out.
On “Smile,” one of the most talked about songs of JAY-Z’s 4:44 album, Gloria Carter comes out as a lesbian. Carter made the confession in a spoken word outro on the track.
“Living in the shadow/Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live?/In the shadows people see you happy and free,” she states in the track. “Because that’s what you want them to see/Living two lives, happy, but not free/You live in the shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or the person you love/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/Smile.”
Months after the album’s debut, Carter reflected on the revelation during an interview with the D’USSE Friday podcast.
“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian,” Jay-Z rapped on the song. “Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate / Society shame and the pain was too much to take.”
Carter went on to say that she was “never ashamed” of her private life, although it was “never discussed” among her family members.
“I don’t hide who I am… I’m tired of all the mystery,” she said. “Now it’s time for me to be live my life and be happy, be free.”
Listen to Carter’s D’USSE Friday podcast interview below. Her “Smile” comments begin at the 25:45 mark.