The Heartbreaking Thing JAY-Z Said to His Mom When She Came Out to Him

JAY-Z is incredibly open and honest about his personal life on his latest album, 4:44, but one of his most heartfelt tracks has to be “Smile,” in which he reveals that his mother, Gloria Carter, is a lesbian. While the song acts as her public coming out to the world, her revelation to her son was a bit more private. “Me and my son, we share a lot of information,” she explained on the D’USSE Friday podcast. “I was sitting there and I was telling him one day, I just finally started telling him who I was. Besides your mother, this is the person that I am. This is the life that I live. 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.”

Even though the track is easily one of the most powerful on the album, it almost didn’t happen. “The first time I heard the song, I was like, ‘Eh, I don’t know, dude. I ain’t feeling that,'” Gloria explained. “When it first happened, I was sharing myself [with JAY-Z], not to share myself with the world.” But after a few conversations with her son, she gave him the OK and decided to appear on the song. “I was never ashamed of me,” she said. “But in my family, it was something that was never discussed. I’m tired of all the mystery. I’m gonna give it to ’em . . . Now it’s time for me to live my life and be happy, be free.”

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