It’s been four years since Jay-Z‘s last album Magna Carta Holy Grail. Now, the Brooklyn rapper isn’t holding back on his life reflections thanks to his latest album 4:44.
One of the most revealing moments is on the track, “Smile.” In a series of lines, Hov talks about his mother Gloria Carter being a lesbian and her struggles coming into her identity.
“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian/Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian,” Jigga raps on his first verse of the track. “Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate/Society shame and the pain was too much to take/Cried tears of joy when you fell in love/Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her/I just wanna see you smile through all the hate/Marie Antoinette, baby, let ’em eat cake.”
The moment becomes more heartwarming when Gloria speaks for herself in the outro to the song. She recites a poem, saying, “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.” She continues, “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. Smile.”