Gloria Carter, JAY-Z’s Mother, Honored With GLAAD’s Special Recognition Award

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The 29th edition of the GLAAD Media Awards sang Gloria Carter’s praises on May 5. The philanthropist received the Special Recognition Award for her fortitude that was recorded on her son JAY-Z’s “Smile” melody, Pitchfork reports.

“Love gave me the courage to take the power that I allowed other people to have over my life for fear of them revealing my secret that wasn’t really a secret,” she said during her speech, which was preceded by Robin Roberts’ introduction. “Here I am. I’m loving, I’m respectful, I’m productive. And I’m a human being who has a right to love who I love.” Filmmaker Ava DuVernay and actor Samira Wiley were also honored that same night.

“Smile” tells the story of JAY-Z’s discovery of his mother’s sexuality, and featured a monologue from Ms. Carter that discussed living life “in the shadow” and what that fear can do to a person mentally.

“In the shadows, people see you as happy and free, because that’s what you want them to see,” she said on the No I.D. produced track. “Living two lives, happy, but not free, you live int he shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or the person you love.”

During an interview with David Letterman, JAY-Z revisited the time his mother came out to him, stating that he cried upon hearing the news. “This was the first time we had the conversation, and the first time I heard her say she loved her partner,” he said. “Like, ‘I feel like I love somebody…’ She held that little bit back. She didn’t say ‘I’m in love,’ she said, ‘I feel like I love someone.’ And I just cried. I don’t even believe in crying because you’re happy.”