One of the most monumental moments from Jay-Z’s 4:44 album came from his song “Smile.” Featuring a powerful spoken word outro from his mother, Gloria Carter, “Smile” followed Jay-Z as he opened up about his mother’s sexual orientation.
Ms. Carter is now speaking out about her role on the track and her initial thoughts about her son’s decision to make the song. In an appearance on D’USSE Friday podcast, she explained, “So 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, you know? This is the life that I lived. So my son started actually, like, tearing because he was 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.”
Carter went on to reveal that in spite of her initial apprehension, she penned the poem on an airplane ride to visit her son. Jay-Z, who was visibly touched by his mother’s words went on to ask her to read the poem over the phone where he’d go on to record it.
Tons of people came out in support of Gloria Carter following the song’s release. Her transparency on the track even scored her a nod from GLAAD CEO Kate Ellis. Praising Carter’s efforts, Ellis beamed, “By sharing her truth with the world, Gloria Carter is increasing visibility of lesbian women of color at a critical time and sending a powerful message of empowerment to the entire LGBTQ community,” in a statement released this June.
Check out Gloria Carter’s appearance on D’USSE Friday below:
(Photo: Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)