*Carlysia Levert, daughter of the late R&B crooner Gerald Levert and granddaughter of The O’Jays lead singer Eddie Levert, recalls what happened when as a teen she opened up about being a lesbian.
Carlysia, now 30, revealed that of all the people in and around her life, she was only concerned about what her grandfather (Eddie) and her mother (Carlene) would think about her sexuality because she loved them both very much and was extremely close to the two.
Carlene must have sensed something before her daughter’s confession because when Carlysia was 17 years old, her mother asked her a direct question: “Are you gay?”
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The teen, not wanting to hurt her mother, told her the truth – sort of – by implying that “maybe it’s just a phase that she was going through. Yet, Carlysia knew in her heart-of-hearts that she loved women.
Actually, Carlene got a heads up about her daughter after Carlene’s sister saw social media photos of Carlysia and her then-girlfriend. Carlysia was attending Spelman College in Atlanta.
“My mom took it really hard in the beginning,” Carlysia said in an article at Iloveoldschool.com. “Then my grandpops Eddie found out and it unraveled from there.”
The word was that Grandpa Eddie wasn’t happy about his granddaughter’s sexual preference, but never told her so directly, according to Carlysia. Instead, Eddie expressed his feelings, privately, to Carlysia’s mother. Gerald Levert’s son, LeMicah, intervened in the matter, hoping to be a buffer that would convince his grandfather that Carlysia was still a good-hearted person and nothing should change because of her sexuality.
Today, Grandpa Eddie and Carlysia’s mother, Carlene, now see that “love is love” and support Carlysia in her decisions about who she wants to be with. As far as what her late father, Gerald Levert, would think about his daughter’s sexuality, if he were alive – he died in 2006 when Carlysia was about 14 – she believes he would not have liked it in the beginning, but because of his unconditional love for her, would have gotten over it and continued to love her. Carlysia recalls, however, when she was a little girl, her father would always tell her, “Don’t turn gay.” It was apparent that Gerald saw and sensed something in his daughter before she saw it in herself.