Good Morning America's Robin Roberts presented Jay-Z's mother Gloria Carter with a special recognition award at the 29th annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York on Saturday.

Carter's struggle to come out is documented in Jay-Z's song “Smile.”

Jay-Z raps on the track: “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.”

Carter also talks on the track about her struggle and decision to “be free.” “Love who you love,” she says, “because life isn't guaranteed. Smile.”

In introducing Carter, Roberts praised her for starting “a global conversation [about lesbian women of color] that has helped countless women.”

In accepting her award, Carter recalled the conversation that led to the song.

“'Smile' became a reality because I shared with my son who I am,” Carter said. “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.'”

“My life wasn't horrible. I chose to protect my family from ignorance. I was happy, but I was not free.”

“Love gave me the courage to take the power that I allowed other people to have over my life for fear of them revealing a secret that wasn't really a secret.”

In ending her speech, Carter echoed a message from the song she inspired.

“Here I am,” she said. “I'm loving. I'm respectful. I'm productive. And I'm a human being who has a right to love who I love. So everybody: Just smile, be free.”

Also at Saturday's event, actress Samira Wiley and director Ava DuVernay were honored, and Melissa Etheridge and Adam Lambert performed a duet of “I'm the Only One.”

(Related: GLAAD Media Awards: Samira Wiley, Jay-Z, Ava DuVernay honored.)