On Jay-Z’s latest album, 4:44, the rapper discussed his mother’s sexuality for the first time, describing how she came out to him and the family late in life. The track is called “Smile,” and it features a moving poem from Ms. Gloria Carter on living a life in the shadows for too long.
During the 29th GLAAD media awards this weekend, Carter stepped out of those very shadows to accept the Special Recognition Award for her role in the creation of “Smile,” and gave a touching acceptance speech and her first public remarks on her son’s song.
“I’m old school,” Carter said, starting off her acceptance speech. “I wrote a little something and just want to share it with you guys.”
In the speech, she thanks God and GLAAD for honoring her son and herself with the award. “Thanks to my family, for loving me unconditionally no matter what,” she continued. “Thanks to my partner for loving me and freeing myself from being in the shadows. Thanks to all of the people whose lives I’ve touched for your support for just telling my truth.”
“‘Smile’ became a reality because I shared with my son who I am,” she said. “Not that people didn’t know. I was just someone people didn’t talk about but they loved me anyway. For me, this 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,'” she recalled.
Carter than explained that to her, she made the choice to “protect our family from ignorance.”
“Here I am,” she exclaimed. “I’m loving, I’m respectful, I’m productive — and I’m a human being who has a right to love who I love!
During an extensive interview with David Letterman, Jay-Z opened up about growing up with a mother who kept a secret to protect him and his siblings.
“For my mother to have to live as someone she wasn’t and hide and protect her kids, and didn’t want to embarrass her kids, for all this time — and for her to sit in front of me and tell me ‘I think I love someone,’ I mean, I really cried,” he said to Letterman. “I cried because I was so happy for her because she was free.”
The next day, he made the track. You can listen to “Smile” below:
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Copyright or Author: Martha Tesema
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