Jay-Z’s mother Gloria Carter makes emotional speech as she accepts LGBT award
Gloria Carter has said that the love of her son Jay-Z and her partner was key in helping her to come out.
Jay-Z, real name Shawn Carter, dedicated “Smile” on is album 4:44 to his mum Gloria Carter – which also served as her official coming out.
He tells the listener: “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.”
On Saturday, Beyoncé’s husband was honoured with a GLAAD Award for dealing with LGBT issues, with his mum picking up the Special Recognition Award at the ceremony in New York City.
Reading from prepared remarks, Carter told the audience: “Thanks to you, to all the people whose lives I touched, for your support, by just telling my truth.
“‘Smile’ became a reality because I shared with my son who I am. Not that people didn’t know; I was just someone they didn’t talk about, but they loved me anyway.
“But for me, this was the first time that I spoke to anyone about who I really am.
“My son cried and said: ‘It must have been horrible to live that way for so long,’ she recalled.
But it wasn’t that simple, said Carter.
“My life wasn’t horrible. I chose to protect my family from ignorance. I was happy but I was not free,” she explained.
“Then one day, I met someone that made my heart sing – made me no longer want to sneak a peak at them, but actually look at them with loving eyes.”
She paused, tearing up at the thought – which was met with thunderous applause from guests at the event.
Recovering her composure, she said: “Love gave me the courage to take the power that I allowed other people to have over my life for fear of them revealing my secret that wasn’t really a secret.
“Here I am. I’m loving, I’m respectful, I’m productive, and I’m a human being who has a right to love who I love.
“So everybody, just smile, be free. Thank you, and God bless.”
Speaking last year, Carter opened up about coming out to her son, his tearful reaction, and the process of making “Smile.”
She said: “The song came about because I was sitting there one day, and I just finally started telling [my son] who I was; Besides your mother, this is the person that I am. This is the life that I’ve lived.”
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Carter explained: “That made him want to do a song about it, and the first time I heard the song, I was like, ‘no dude, I ain’t feeling that. I was sharing myself with you, not with the world, I don’t know whether I’m ready for that’.
“We talked about it and we talked about it, and I was going out to see him, and I said, I’m going to help him. We’re gonna do this. I wrote [my verse] while I was on the plane, going out to LA.
“I gave it to him, and he said ‘start reading this’, and he was taping me!”
Watch Carter’s acceptance speech here: