‘4:44’ was released in June. Read NME‘s review of the album.
The song ‘Smile’ closes with a poem from the star’s mother Gloria Carter. She says:
“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 lifes, happy but not free. You live in the shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or someone 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.”
Earlier in the track, Jay-Z addresses his mother’s coming out, rapping:
“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/Cried tears of joy when you fell in love/Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her.”
Now, speaking on the D’USSE Friday podcast, Gloria Carter has opened up about coming out to her son. “I just finally started telling [Jay] who I was,” she said. “Besides your mother, this is the person that I am. This is the life that I live. So my son started actually tearing. ‘Cause he’s 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.”
“I was never ashamed of me,” she added. “In my family, it was something that was never discussed… I’m tired of all the mystery. I’m gonna give it to ‘em. I don’t have to worry about anybody wondering if I’m in the life or not, I’m gonna tell them. So now that I told you, what do you have to talk about? So now maybe you can focus on the phenomenal things I do, so focus on that… Now it’s time for me to be free.”
Hear Gloria Carter’s comments from the 26 minute mark below:
Speaking to iHeart Radio recently, Jay-Z said of the track ‘Smile’: “‘Smile’ is just what it is. There are gonna be bad times, and those bad times can do two things: they can get you in a place where you’re stuck in a rut, or it can make your future that much better because you’ve experienced these things.”
Meanwhile, Beyoncé and Jay Z welcomed twins Rumi and Sir on June 13 this year. Jay Z has since explained the reasons behind their unusual names, and revealed that he booked his ‘4:44’ tour for later this year so he can spend more quality time with them.