In a clip from Netflix’s new David Letterman show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, rapper and mogul Jay-Z opens up about his mother coming out to him and the joy he felt for her.
Jay raps about the moment in “Smile,” a track on his album 4:44, telling Letterman he made the song the day after his mother, Gloria Carter, came out to him.
“Imagine having to live your life as someone else, and you think you’re protecting your kids,” the rapper says. “For my mother to have to live as someone that she wasn’t and hide and protect her kids and didn’t want to embarrass her kids, and, you know, for all this time, for her to sit in front of me and tell me, ‘I think I love someone.’ I mean, I really cried. That was a real story. I cried because I was so happy for her that she was free.”
Jay adds that he always knew his mother was gay and that the conversation that they had was the first time she’d opened up about it.
In January, it was announced that the rapper and his mother would be honored at the GLAAD Media Awards. Carter also opened up about coming out to her son in a D’USSE Friday interview. Discussing the conversation she had with Jay, she said, “Besides your mother, this is the person that I am, you know? This is the life that I lived. So, my son started actually, like, tearing because he was 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.”