Now that you’ve deep-dived into all the Beyoncé drama and celebrity call-outs on 4:44, let’s get into “Smile,” JAY-Z’s track with his mother, Gloria Carter. On the song, JAY-Z introduces her almost immediately as a lesbian. It’s possible Gloria has been out to friends and family for a while, but this is her first public comment on the subject (and JAY-Z’s first public acknowledgement of it as well).
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“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian,” Jay raps of his mom. “Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate / Society shame and the pain was too much to take.” He continues: “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.”
She takes the opportunity to come out and conclude the song by singing:
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 / Smile.
Listen to 4:44 here.