Jay-Z reveals he “cried” with happiness when his mum came out as gay

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Susan Devaney
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Rapper Jay-Z has revealed details about the way his mum, Gloria Carter, told him she was a lesbian. 

In 2017, Jay-Z’s mum, Gloria Carter, publically came out as a lesbian in a track called Smile on his Grammy-nominated album 4:44.

The lyrics reveal that for most of her life, Gloria Carter, had to hide her sexuality.

“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian / Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate / Society shame and the pain was too much to take,” Jay-Z raps. 

“Cried tears of joy when you fell in love / Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her / I just wanna see you smile through all the hate / Marie Antoinette, baby, let ‘em eat cake.”

Now, Jay-Z has shared the details behind the track, and it’s heart-warming to say the least. Speaking to host David Letterman for Netflix series, My Guest Needs No Introduction, the rapper revealed the first time they had a conversation about her sexual orientation, clarifying that he always knew.

“Imagine having to live your life as someone else, and you think you’re protecting your kids,” Jay-Z tells Letterman. “For my mother, to have to live as someone she wasn’t and hide and protect her kids, [not] wanting 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 really cried, because that’s a real story. I cried because I was so happy for her that she was free.”

Jay-Z also revealed that his mother spoke about being in love with her partner for the first time too.

“And the first time I heard her say she loved her partner,” he continues. “Like, ‘I feel like I love somebody.’ She said, ‘I feel like.’ She even held that little bit back, still. She didn’t say, ‘I’m in love.’ She said, ‘I feel like I love someone.’ And I just, I cried. I don’t even believe in crying because you’re happy. I don’t even know what that is. What is that?”

After Smile was released last year, Gloria Carter also spoke about feeling “free” on a podcast with D’USSE Friday.

“I was never ashamed of me. In my family, it was something that was never discussed… I’m tired of all the mystery. I’m going give it to ‘em. I don’t have to worry about anybody wondering if I’m in the life or not, I’m going tell them,” Carter says. 

“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.”

Jay-Z’s episode of My Guest Needs No Introduction will air on 6 April.

Images: Getty 


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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.