Jay-Z’s Story About His Mum Coming Out As Lesbian Is A Bloody Heartwarmer


David Letterman‘s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction has landed its next guest (who needs no introduction): rap god and Instagram husband Jay-Z.

The interviews – which so far have included former president Barack Obama, George Clooney and Malala Yousafzai – are long-ranging, intimate affairs, and in a just-released clip from this new one, Jay-Z opens up about his mum Gloria Carter coming out as a lesbian later in life.

“Imagine having lived your life for someone else,” he tells Letterman (and his monster beard). “And you think you’re protecting your kids. And for my mother to have to live as someone that she wasn’t and hide and like, protect her kids — and didn’t want to embarrass her kids, and you know, for all this time. And for her to sit in front of me and tell me, ‘I think I love someone.’ I mean, I really cried. That’s a real story. I cried because I was so happy for her that she was free.”

Letterman asks, “And how old were you when that happened?

“This happened eight months ago, when the album [4:44] was being made,” he replies. “Like, she just told me. I made the song the next day.” 

“I’m sorry, this is when you learned your mother was gay?” says Letterman.

“No, I knew,” Jay replies. “But this was the first time we had the conversation. And the first time I heard her say she loved her partner. Like, ‘I feel like I love somebody.’ She said, ‘I feel like.’ She held that little bit back, still. She didn’t say, ‘I’m in love,’ she said, ‘I feel like I love someone.’ And I just, I cried. I don’t even believe in crying because you’re happy. I don’t even know what that is. What is that?”  


The song Jay is referring to is ‘Smile‘, on 4:44, where he raps:

“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian/Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian /Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate/Society shame and the pain was too much to take.”

He later raps:

“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.”

Gloria herself appears on the track, delivering an emotional spoken word outro.

Living in the shadows. 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 shadows 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.


While I really, really, really don’t mean to detract from any of the above, I hope to god that Letterman filmed an additional bit to this interview, asking Jay-Z the most important question of all: who bit Beyoncé?

Watch the clip below before Jay Z’s episode drops on Netflix April 6.