*In his interview on David Letterman’s Netflix show “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” Jay-Z revisits the experience of his mother coming out to him and its inspiration for his “4:44” track, “Smile.”
“Imagine having lived your life for someone else. And you think you’re protecting your kids,” he said of his mother, Gloria Carter. “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 really cried. That’s a real story. I cried because I was so happy for her that she was free.”
Letterman had no idea that Jay-Z only learned of his mom’s sexuality last year.
“This happened eight months ago, when the album was being made. Like, she just told me. I made the song the next day.
“I’m sorry, this is when you learned your mother was gay?” Letterman asked?
Jay-Z responded: “No, I knew. 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?” [Watch the clip above.]
“My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman: Jay-Z” launches globally on Netflix Friday, April 6.