Jay-Z’s ode to his mother earns significant recognition.
Jay-Z’s “Smile” cut from his 4:44 studio album is set to earn an award of “Special Recognition” at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards ceremony, an annual event held to honor “fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives.”
The track is known for serving as Hov’s first public acknowledgement of his mother being a lesbian as he opens up the cut with the line, “Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian/Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian.” In the track’s accompanying video, an emotional origin story is painted of a young mother, made to portray Jay-Z’s mother, as she navigates a secret life while maintaining a front of what she deems to acceptable.
Notably, the song closes out with an outro voiced by his mother Gloria Carter, “Living in the shadow / 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.”