Jay-Z has plenty to say on his new album 4:44. From the current state of hip-hop to his infidelities with wife Beyoncé, fans are already praising it as one of Hov’s most mature works to date. Still, it is Jay’s mother, Gloria Carter, who provides the album with its most heartfelt moment.
In the song “Smile,” Carter affirms a long-standing rumor and comes out as lesbian. She appears on the latter half of the song, reciting a poem that asks: “Living in the shadow / Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live?”
Carter and Adnes Reeves had four children during their time together: Andrea, Eric, Michelle, and Shawn (aka Jay-Z), who was youngest. “He was the last of my children,” she told Biography, “the only one who didn’t give me any pain when I gave birth to him, and that’s how I knew he was a special child.” But the couple separated when Jay was only 11, leaving him and his siblings to be raised by their mother.
According to Encyclopedia, Carter worked as a clerk at an investment company to support her kids. Jay cut his biological father out of his life, telling Vibe magazine “To me, that was basically the end of our relationship. That was when the hurt and then the healing began for me, from that day right there.” The two would later reconcile before Reeves’ death from liver failure in 2003.
Jay Z says he cried with joy when his mother came out to him as lesbian.
In the April 6 episode of “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman” on Netflix, Jay Z says he was happy his mother was free.
The rap mogul says he’d known his mother was gay, but they discussed it for the first time eight months ago.
Gloria Carter came out on Jay Z’s 2017 song “Smile,” which featured her poem “Livin in the Shadows.”