Jay-Z: ‘Growing up Without a Father Was Painful’


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jay-ZJay-Z has spoken about the “pain” he suffered when his dad walked out on him when he was 11-years-old.

In an interview with chat show queen Oprah Winfrey, the rapper admits growing up without a father has clouded his entire life.

“I just felt anger at the whole situation,” he said. “Because when you’re growing up, your dad is your superhero.

“Once you’ve let yourself fall that in love with someone, once you put him on such a high pedestal and he lets you down, you never want to experience that pain again.

“So I remember just being really quiet and really cold. Never wanting to let myself get close to someone like that again.

“I carried that feeling throughout my life, until my father and I met up before he died.”

Jay, real name Shawn Corey Carter, later found it his dad had moved in with his grandmother 10 minutes up the road.

The star’s mom, Gloria, then stepped in and set up a meeting.

“She set up a meeting and now I realize why — it makes all the sense in the world,” he told Oprah.

“I remember very distinctly that I had a conversation with her in my kitchen. I was saying: ‘You know, Ma, I’ve really been trying to look inward, and maybe I’m just not meant to fall in love like other people do.’ She just looked at me like, ‘Hush up, boy.’

“And I guess from that point, she figured out what was wrong with me and she planned a meeting between me and my father.

“I was like, ‘Ma, I’m a grown man. I don’t need a dad now.’

“I guess I still had too much resentment and anger.

“When my mum set up this meeting, I told her he wouldn’t come — and the first time, he didn’t.

“At that point, I was really done, but mom pushed for another meeting because she’s just a beautiful soul.

“The second time, he showed up. And I gave him the real conversation. I told him how I felt the day he left.

“He was saying stuff like ‘Man, you knew where I was.’ I’m like, ‘I was a kid! Do you realize how wrong you were? It was your responsibility to see me.’

“He finally accepted that.”

“When I was nine, my dad’s brother got stabbed, and my dad went looking for the guy who did it,” Jay added.

“People would call in the middle of the night and tell him, ‘So-and-so is out here.’

“So my dad would get up, get his gun, and go outside to look for the guy.

“After a while, my mom was like, ‘Hey, this is your family now. You can’t do that.’

“But this was my dad’s baby brother. And my dad was in so much pain that he started using drugs and became a different person.

“So I understand that the trauma of the event, coupled with the drugs, caused him to lose his soul.

“When we met up, he was broken. He had a bad liver, and he knew that if he continued drinking, it would kill him. But he didn’t stop.”


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