Blue Ivy’s grandma has come out as gay in “Smile,” a new duet with her son, Jay-Z.
On the track, off Jay’s new album, 4:44, Carter delivers a poignant spoken-word outro about being in the closet.
“Living in the shadow/Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live?” She asks in the outro. “In the shadows people see you as happy and free/Because that’s what you want them to see…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 addresses his mother’s sexuality in the song: “Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate/Society shame and the pain was too much to take… [I] cried tears of joy when you fell in love/Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her.”
Jay-Z and Carter have collaborated in the past, including with their philanthropic work with the Shawn Carter Foundation. Now over a decade old, the organization has raised more than $4 million toward helping underserved youth pursue higher education.
The Grammy-winning rapper, who recently joined wife Beyoncé in welcoming twins into the world, has spoken out on behalf of the LGBT community in the past.
In 2012, he shared his support for marriage equality, telling CNN, “What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love.”
“[It’s] is no different than discriminating against blacks,” he added. “It’s discrimination plain and simple.”
4:44 is available for streaming exclusively on Tidal.