The song “Smile,” released on the album last June, includes the verse:
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
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
At the end of the song, Jay Z’s mother, Gloria Carter, reads a poem she wrote for it, as she explained in September. In the poem, she says in part:
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
Jay Z also last week released a video of the song, which shows him as a young boy being raised by his mom, who is struggling with her feelings for another woman. It’s currently only available at subscription service Tidal, but you can see stills from it at the Daily Mail.
Is it just me, though, or does the rhyming of “lesbian” and “thesbian” feel like an old joke I’ve heard too many times before? Sure, not much rhymes with “lesbian,” but he could have used the word in the middle of the line and rhymed something else at the end. Still, many kudos to Jay Z and Gloria Carter for sharing their story. “Love who you love” is a message that never gets old.
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