Watch Jay-Z recall crying with happiness when his mother came out

Gloria Carter publicly came out as gay on the '4:44' track 'Smile'

Jay-Z has described how he cried tears of joy when his mother finally came out to him.

The rapper’s song ‘Smile’ from his recent album ‘4:44’ closed with a poem from Gloria Carter. It was the first time the star’s mother publicly came out as gay.

“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,” Gloria Carter recites on the track.


Earlier in the track, Jay-Z rapped of his mother’s coming out: “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.”

Jay has now spoken to David Letterman about the moment his mother first came out to him. The clip is taken from an upcoming episode of Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction Netflix show.

“Imagine having to live your life as someone else, and you think you’re protecting your kids,” Jay tells the host. “For my mother, to have to live as someone she wasn’t and hide and protect her kids, [not] wanting to embarrass her kids, for all this time and for her to sit in front of me and tell me, ‘I think I love someone’. I cried, that’s a real story. I cried because I was so happy for her that she was free.”

“This happened eight months ago,” the rapper explained, “when the album was being made, she [had] just told me. I made the song [‘Smile’] the next day. I knew [about her sexuality], but this was the first time we had the conversation and I heard her say that she loved her partner. ‘I feel like I love somebody’. She said ‘I feel like’. She held that little bit back still.”

“I just cried. I don’t even believe in crying because you’re happy. I don’t even know what that is, what is that?”

Watch in the clip beneath.


Gloria Carter opened up about coming out to her son last year on the D’USSE Friday podcast. “I just finally started telling [Jay] who I was,” she said at the time. “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,” Gloria 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.”

Jay-Z’s episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction will arrive on Netflix on April 6.

A clip has also been released of Jay-Z revealing what he thinks makes Snoop Dogg and Eminem good rappers.