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Jay-Z’s mother Gloria Carter makes emotional speech as she accepts LGBT award

Josh Jackman May 7, 2018
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: Gloria Carter accepts a Special Recognition Award onstage at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Hilton Midtown on May 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by J. Merritt/Getty Images for GLAAD)

(J. Merritt/Getty)

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.

In the track, Jay-Z raps while his mother reads a poem about hiding her sexuality for years.

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.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05:  (L-R) Joshua Rush, and Robin Roberts present Gloria Carter with a Special Recognition Award onstage during the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Hilton Midtown on May 5, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by J. Merritt/Getty Images for GLAAD)
(J. Merritt/Getty)

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.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: Gloria Carter (R) attends the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Hilton Midtown on May 5, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by J. Merritt/Getty Images for GLAAD)
(J. Merritt/Getty)

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.”

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05:  Gloria Carter accepts the Special Recognition Award at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, in partnership with longstanding LGBTQ ally, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka, on May 5, 2018.  (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Ketel One Family-Made Vodka)
(Monica Schipper/Getty)

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.”

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’.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05:  Gloria Carter and Joshua Rush attend the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Hilton Midtown on May 5, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for GLAAD)
(Cindy Ord/Getty)

“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:

More: 4:44, entertainment, GLAAD, gloria carter, Jay Z, lesbian, Music, US, US

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