Gloria Carter will be recognised with a Special Recognition Award for her coming-out story, which featured on her son’s 4:44 album track Smile.
She briefly appeared on the song, on which her son 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/Cried tears of joy when you fell in love/Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her.”
She delivered a speech at the end of the track, in which she explained what it was like to be a gay black woman.
“You live in the shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or the person you love,” she said. “The world is changing and they say it’s time to be free. But you live with the fear of just being me.”
Announcing the special honour on Wednesday (25Apr18), GLAAD’s president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, “By sharing her truth with the world, Gloria Carter increased visibility of lesbian women of colour at a critical time and sent a powerful message of empowerment to the entire LGBTQ community.
“Her story and the unconditional love that her family exhibits resonate with so many. The GLAAD Media Awards will be a critical platform to honour her work and further this important message.”
JAY-Z recently detailed his mother’s story during an appearance on David Letterman’s Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, revealing he cried tears of joy when she came out to him.
“For her to sit in front of me and tell me ‘I think I love someone’… I really cried,” he said. “I cried because I was so happy for her that she was free.”
Director Ava DuVernay will also be honoured at the GLAAD Media Awards – she is the recipient of the Excellence in Media Award – and actress Samira Wiley will be presented with this year’s Vito Russo Award.
The New York awards ceremony will take place on 5 May (18).