The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, also known as GLAAD, is set to honor JAY-Z with a special recognition at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards. Hov will be commemorated for the 4:44 song “Smile” and its music video, which depicts his mother Gloria Carter’s journey as a single mother and as a lesbian.
“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian,” he raps on the track. “Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian / Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate / Society’s shame and the pain was too much to take.”
The song also finds JAY accepting his mother’s lifestyle. “Cried tears of joy when you fell in love,” he adds. “Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her / I just wanna see you smile through all the hate.”
Hov’s mother Gloria Carter also opens up about love on the outro. “Living in the shadow,” she says. “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.”
She also offers some advice: “Life is short, and it’s time to be free. Love who you love, because life isn’t guaranteed. Smile.”
Speaking to The New York Times’ T Magazine last year, JAY explained what his relationship with his mother has been like. “We never spoke about it until, like, recently, now we start having these beautiful conversations, and just really getting to know each other,” he said. “We were always good friends but now we’re really great friends. You know. And we were just talking as friends. And then she was sharing that she was in love. She can be herself [now]. She doesn’t have to hide for her kids or feel like she’s embarrassing her kids. It was a much different time then. [Now] she can just live her full life, her whole life, and be her.”
Miley Cyrus, Halsey, Kesha, and Sam Smith are also among the nominees at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards ceremony, which will be held in Los Angeles on April 1 and in New York on May 5.