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Watch: Jay-Z's Mom Gloria Carter Honored At 2018 GLAAD Awards
"The world is changing and they say it's time to be free/But you live with the fear of just being me/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."
Those are the lyrics from Gloria Carter's verse in her son Jay-Z's track "Smile" from his GRAMMY-nominated 2017 album, 4:44, during which he revealed that his mother is a lesbian. The song received much attention and praise thanks to Carter's willingness to share her life with the world.
For her contribution to "Smile," Carter earned special recognition at the 2018 GLAAD Awards at the Hilton Midtown in New York on May 5. "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts introduced Carter, thanking her for "start[ing] a global conversation [about lesbian women of color] that has helped countless women."
"'Smile' became a reality because I shared with my son who I am," Carter said during her acceptance speech. "For me, this was the first time I spoke to anyone about who I really am. My son cried and said, 'It must have been horrible to live that way for so long.'"
The star-studded GLAAD Awards gala celebrated other media that made a positive difference for the LGBTQ community over the past year, including songs by songwriter Justin Tranter, Adam Lambert and Melissa Etheridge. Tranter auctioned off two songs, which raised $44,000 for GLAAD while Lambert and Etheridge delivered a duet of the latter's GRAMMY-nominated "I'm The Only One."