JAY-Z will be honored by The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards this spring.
The Roc Nation mogul/rapper is set to receive a special recognition award for his 4:44 song “Smile,” a record where he opens up about his experience finding out his mother Gloria Carter is a lesbian and being accepting of her sexuality. Hov has always referenced stories about his mother and her raising him, but “Smile” was obviously the most unique because thats pretty much how his mom came out to the world.
“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian/ Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian,” he raps on the song. “Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate/ Society shame and the pain was too much to take.” The 2018 GLAAD Media Awards takes place in Beverley Hills on Apr. 12 and New York City on May 5.
Gloria recalled the emotional moment when she first told Jay:
I just finally started telling [Jay] who I was. 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 she was hesitant about sharing this part of her life with the world, Jay eventually convinced her to let him put it on the album in the form of “Smile”:
I was never ashamed of me. 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 nobody wondering if I’m in the life or not, I’m gonna tell them. So now that I told you, now what do you have to talk about? So now maybe you can focus on the phenomenal things I do, so focus on that. Because that part of your life is a small part of your life… Now it’s time for me to live my life and be happy, be free.
On “Smile,” Gloria Carter reflects on her struggles feeling like she was “living in the shadow”:
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
You live in the shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or the person 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
And also many people have come out seeing this honor as surprised as to what Jay has done to deserve this honor, it appears he has always always been a supporter of human and equal rights. In a 2012 interview with CNN, Jay-Z spoke out in support of same-sex marriage, the Huffington Post notes.
“I’ve always thought [not allowing same-sex marriages] was still holding the country back,” Jay-Z said at the time. “What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That’s their business. [It] is no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination plain and simple.”