Jay-Z's Mom Comes Out On Rapper's '4:44' Album, And Gives Voice To Often Silenced Part Of The LGBTQ Community

"But life is short, and it's time to be free. Love who you love, because life isn't guaranteed."

Jay-Z's latest album, 4:44, is already making waves with its lyrics referring to Beyoncé — but one song, "Smile," is all about the rapper's mom. With the help of her superstar son, Gloria Carter comes out as a lesbian and opens up to listeners about the secret life she has been living.

In his portion of the song, Jay-Z talks about how long his mom has been hiding this portion of her life for so long — despite having four kids — and how society played a part in keeping her in the closet. Jay-Z also takes a clear stance on same-sex relationships.

"Mama had four kids, but she's a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she's a thespian," Jay-Z raps on the track, according to Rolling Stone. "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."

The music publication also provides the text of a moving spoken word piece she delivers in the nearly five-minute song about her experience of "living in the shadows."

"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. You live in the shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or someone you love," Gloria says. "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."

In a statement, via Billboard, GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis had only praise for Jay-Z's mom, noting how important this coming out is because it speaks for marginalized LGBTQ people of color — not to mention those of a certain age and being a woman — who don't often feel included in the mainstream and are often overlooked.

"Lesbian women are all too often erased or excluded from narratives surrounding LGBTQ people," she said in the statement. "By sharing her truth with the world, Gloria Carter is increased visibility of lesbian women of color at a critical time and sending a powerful message of empowerment to the entire LGBTQ community that is perfectly timed with the end of Pride Month."

Kudos to Jay-Z's mom who will now be able to live her truth. After all, she and everyone else should be able to do so — no matter who they love.

Cover image via Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com


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