One of the standout songs on JAY-Z’s 4:44 was “Smile,” which featured the rapper’s mother on the outro. Now, during an interview on the D’USSE Friday podcast, Gloria Carter revealed how coming out as a lesbian to her son inspired the song.
“I just finally started telling [Jay] who I was,” she said during the podcast. “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.”
Although Hov now knew his mother’s secret, Gloria was still unsure if she wanted to share her story through song. However, a poem she wrote to Jay eventually made it to “Smile” after the rapper recorded her reciting it.
“I was never ashamed of me,” she said. “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.”
Check out the full interview with Gloria Carter below.