Last June, Jay-Z’s mother, Gloria Carter, opened up on her son’s album 4:44 about her fears, her family, and finally her freedom to live openly as a lesbian in a poem included in the song “Smile.” She wrote in part, “But life is short and it’s time to be free / Love who you love, because life isn’t guaranteed.” This weekend, Gloria accepted a Special Recognition Award for both “inspiring and contributing to” the song while at the 29th GLAAD Media Awards in New York.
Carter said in part, “‘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.” She concluded, “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.”