Jay-Z’s mother Gloria Carter explained how she told her son she was gay in an interview on the D’USSE Friday podcast.
Earlier this year, Jay-Z released a song, “Smile”, with a rap that discussed his mother’s coming out. The track ended with Carter reciting a poem about “Living two lives, happy but not free.”
Said Carter on the podcast (transcript via NME):
“I just finally started telling [Jay] who I was. 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….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 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.”
Listen to the podcast (excerpt above starts around 26 minutes):
Carter’s final verse in the song:
“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 lifes, happy but not free.You live in the shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or someone you love. 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.”