Jay-Z talks to David Letterman about his mom coming out: ‘I was so happy for her’


Jay-Z is the newest guest on David Letterman’s Netflix show. The two discussed his public and private life, including how he reacted when his mom came out.

David Letterman has hosted Barack Obama and George Clooney on his latest Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. Jay-Z is the next famous name to appear, and his interview will be an emotional one.

In a clip released on Tuesday before the full episode airs, David Letterman asked Jay-Z about his mother, Gloria Carter, coming out as a lesbian.

“Imagine having lived your life for someone else, right?” Jay-Z began, “And you think you’re protecting your kids. 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 mean, I really cried. That’s a real story. I cried because I was so happy for her that she was free.”

“Wow,” was all Letterman could say to Jay-Z’s moving story.

Jay-Z told Letterman that his mom came out to him eight months ago, when he was making his album 4:44. Then, he wrote the song “Smile” the next day. In the song, Gloria Carter delivers a heartfelt monologue about what it was like for her to live in secrecy.

Letterman couldn’t believe that the rapper only learned this news eight months ago, but Jay-Z explained he already knew.

“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… 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?”

We can really tell Jay-Z is happy for his mother just from listening to the song “Smile.” Carter’s voice on the track and Jay-Z’s lyrics are clear as day:

"Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbianHad to pretend so long that she’s a thespianHad to hide in the closet, so she medicateSociety shame and the pain was too much to takeCried tears of joy when you fell in loveDon’t matter to me if it’s a him or her"

You can watch the clip of Jay-Z’s interview with Letterman below.

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To catch this and more, watch the upcoming episode of Netflix’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman on Friday, April 6.