LOS ANGELES — Rapper Jay-Z released his 13th album, “4:44”, with a few surprises, including participating in his mother’s announcement that she is a lesbian.
On “Smile,” the third track on the album, the rapper recognizes the struggle his mother, Gloria Carter, faced living as a closeted gay woman.
“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian/ Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian,” he raps. “Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate/ Society shame and the pain was too much to take.”
Jay-Z, a father to three children, continues to rap, saying, “Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her/ I just wanna see you smile through all the hate/ Marie Antoinette, baby, let ’em eat cake.”
In the nearly five-minute song, Gloria closes with lyrics outlining her life in the “shadows.”
“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 lives, happy, but not free/You live in the shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or the person 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/Smile.”
In an interview in 2012, Jay-Z voiced his support for same-sex marriage, saying, “I’ve always thought [not allowing same-sex individuals to wed] was still, um, holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That’s their business. [It] is no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination plain and simple.”