“By sharing her truth with the world, Gloria Carter increased visibility of lesbian women of color at a critical time and sent a powerful message of empowerment to the entire LGBTQ community.”
Gloria Carter is set to receive a Special Recognition Award from GLAAD for her inspiring coming out story through Jay-Z’s track, Smile, taken from his 13th studio album 4:44.
“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian,” Jay-Z raps on the song, which features a guest spot from his mother.
“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. Cried tears of joy when you fell in love, Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her.”
In the song’s outro, Carter reflects on being unable to live life as her authentic self.
“You live in the shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or the person you love,” she says. “The world is changing and they say it’s time to be free. But you live with the fear of just being me.”
GLAAD’s president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis praised Carter for her bravery, and for increasing “visibility of lesbian women of colour at a critical time,” which she claims sent a “powerful message of empowerment to the entire LGBTQ community”.
She continued: “Her story and the unconditional love that her family exhibits resonate with so many. The GLAAD Media Awards will be a critical platform to honor her work and further this important message.”
Earlier this month, Jay-Z opened up about his mother’s coming out story for an episode of the Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.
The series – which premiered 12 January 2018 – sees Letterman conducting longform conversations with a celebrity guest for an hourlong episode. The first three episodes included frank interviews with Barack Obama, George Clooney and Malala Yousafzai.
In the fourth episode, Jay-Z told Letterman he cried tears of joy when his mother Gloria Carter came out to him, because she could finally live life as her authentic self.
“Imagine having lived your life for someone else. And you think you’re protecting your kids. And for my mother to have to live as someone that she wasn’t and hide and like, protect her kids — and didn’t want to embarrass her kids, and you know, for all this time,” said the American rapper.
“And for her to sit in front of me and tell me, ‘I think I love someone.’ I mean, I really cried. That’s a real story. I cried because I was so happy for her that she was free.”