JAY-Z’s Mom Inspired ‘Smile’ When She Came Out


By Robyn Collins

JAY-Z’s mom, Gloria Carter, shared that coming out as a lesbian inspired the song “Smile” from the rapper’s newly released 4:44.

Related: Jay-Z’s Crowd Sings Happy Birthday to Beyoncé: Watch

“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian/Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian,” JAY-Z raps in the track.

“I just finally started telling [Jay] who I was,” Carter said in D’USSE Friday podcast. “Besides your mother, this is the person that I am. This is the life that I live. So my son started actually tearing. ‘Cause he’s like, ‘That had to be a horrible life, Ma’. I was like, ‘My life was never horrible. It was just different.’ So that made him want to do a song about it.”

A poem that Carter wrote and recited to Jay while he was on an airplane made it into the song, since he recorded the call:

“I was never ashamed of me,” she said. “In my family, it was something that was never discussed…I’m tired of all the mystery. I’m gonna give it to ‘em. I don’t have to worry about anybody wondering if I’m in the life or not, I’m gonna tell them. So now that I told you, what do you have to talk about? So now maybe you can focus on the phenomenal things I do, so focus on that…Now it’s time for me to be free.”

The song also includes elements of Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s In Need Of Love Today.”  Listen to the track over at Radio.com.

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