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Celebrity Philanthropy News 2  3
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Black Tie International
The 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards
Ms. Gloria Carter and Robin Roberts
Ms. Gloria Carter and Robin Roberts
 
The 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards

 

At the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City on May 5, Ms. Gloria Carter accepted a Special Recognition Award on behalf of her son, JAY-Z for the song 'Smile' off of his album 4:44. The award was presented to her by Robin Roberts, host of ABC's Good Morning America. The video is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEy-NNzcY2Y&feature=youtu.be .

 

In her speech, Carter discussed the impact that coming out has had on her family and countless others around the globe. She also told of the love and support she received from her family. She further said: “Love gave me the courage to take the power that I allowed other people to have over my life for fear of them revealing my secret.”

Ross Mathews hosted the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City which included a duet from LGBTQ icons Adam Lambert and Melissa Etheridge. Samira Wiley received the Vito Russo Award from co-star Alexis Bledel and Ava DuVernay received the Excellence in Media Award from her Senator Cory Booker. Presenters during the event included Tituss Burgess, Laverne Cox, Lea Michele, Nyle DiMarco, Asia Kate Dillon, Nico Tortorella and stars of NBC's Rise. 

In the song 'Smile,' Jay-Z, tells of his mother’s struggles and of his unwavering love and support for her: “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.”

Carter lent her voice to “Smile” during the outro, powerfully stating: “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. You live in the shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or the person you love. 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. Smile.”

She also discussed her coming out to her son in an interview with the D'EUSSE Friday podcast following the release of “Smile.” “I just finally started telling Jay who I was. Besides your mother, this is the person that I am. This is the life that I live.’ So my son started actually tearing. He’s like, ‘That had to be a horrible life, ma.’ I was like, my life was never horrible. I was never ashamed of me.”

The song “Smile” sparked global conversation about lesbian women of color. In an interview with David Letterman for his Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Jay-Z reflected: “Imagine having lived your life for someone else. 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."

 

Carter also cofounded the Shawn Carter Foundation with her son. The Shawn Carter Foundation supports initiatives to empower youth and communities in need through the Foundation’s programs: Scholarship Fund, College Prep and Exposure to HBCUs, International Exposure, Professional Development, Scholar Support and Community & Goodwill Programs. 

"By sharing her truth with the world, Gloria Carter increased visibility of lesbian women of color at a critical time and sent a powerful message of empowerment to the entire LGBTQ community,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO. “Her story and the unconditional love that her family exhibits resonate with so many.”

The 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Delta Air Lines, Gilead, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka, and Wells Fargo. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD's work to amplify stories from the LGBTQ community and issues that build support for equality and acceptance.

 

Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/Blacktiemagazine.com

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