Jay-Z’s mother Gloria Carter married her longtime partner Roxanne Wilshire in New York City on Sunday, according to TMZ. Beyoncé, Tina Knowles-Lawson, Tyler Perry, and Kelly Rowland were among the stars who attended the wedding in Tribeca, the news outlet added.
Carter, whose legacy is much bigger than raising the rap artist and entrepreneur, has said that the love of her son was key in helping her to come out. In spite of the many challenges she and her son have faced together, Carter only revealed her true self to her famous son in 2017 while he was writing his album 4:44. For many years, Carter had been silent about her sexuality as society prevented her from living her true identity, she said. Her four children didn’t know she was a lesbian until they were adults. And she said in 2017 that she was never free until she came out to her rap mogul son Jay-Z, who couldn’t help but cry.
For 30 years, Carter worked for the New York City comptroller, moving from clerk to investment analyst. Following 13 years of marriage, she and Jay-Z’s father separated, and she had to single-handedly raise her four children — two sons, Eric and Shawn (Jay-Z), and two daughters, Michelle and Andrea. Carter recalled in an interview with USA Today that she often took on an extra job as a security guard to make ends meet. Things started getting better for Carter and her family when in 1996, Jay-Z, who would wake his siblings with his makeshift drum on the kitchen table, released his first commercial album.
By 2002, she and Jay-Z had founded the Shawn Carter Foundation – a not-for-profit that has raised more than $4 million helping underserved students fulfill their dreams. And the artiste’s mom has been touching lives since then, motivating and supporting children through school and life. In 2017 when she came out to her rap mogul son, she said he actually started tearing up.
On his album 4:44, Jay-Z celebrated his mother’s sexuality in a duet titled “Smile”. In the song, JAY-Z raps: “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.”
The rapper in a subsequent interview explained how he really felt getting to know his mom was lesbian. “For my mother, to have to live as someone she wasn’t and hide and protect her kids, [not] wanting to embarrass her kids, for all this time and for her to sit in front of me and tell me, ‘I think I love someone’.
“I cried, that’s a real story. I cried because I was so happy for her that she was free.”