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.
“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.”