Jay-Z's new track, "Glory," is notable not just because it celebrates his newborn daughter with wife Beyoncé, but also because it makes reference to a previous miscarriage — and it's incredibly rare that a male celebrity does that. As music critic Ann Powers questioned yesterday on Twitter: "Has a rapper ever spoken about miscarriage before?" Good question.
(Answer: Maybe. Jean Grae's track ""My Story" includes the lyrics, "Years passed/the guilt's worse and it builds till your heart's smashed/Then I miscarried 22 age/I was headed to a breakdown/Swallowed up some pills and I laid down/I was a failure at that too.")
But in general, although celebrities are prone to dish about their diets, their sex lives, their sobriety struggles, and their tattoos in intimate locations, miscarriage is not a subject stars are very open about. And on the rare occasion that a celebrity offers information, usually the woman — and not the man — has something to say.
Last month, Michelle Duggar suffered a miscarriage. There was a memorial service held, and photos of the dead fetus were distributed. Grief — and the healing process — can take many different forms, and the Duggars's choice allowed them to have a dedicated time, space, gathering and mementos for their loss.
In 2010, Lily Allen suffered her second miscarriage; she is among a select few who have been open about the loss. Christie Brinkley has revealed she had three miscarriages; skater Nancy Kerrigan has had six; recent reports claim Jennifer Aniston miscarried back in 2004, when she was with Brad Pitt.
But all too often, when it comes to celebrities and miscarriage, the public doesn't get any acknowledgement of the incident. Obviously what goes on inside of a woman's uterus is a very private matter. And there is no "right" way to deal with the aftermath. There's no right way to grieve. But one could argue that since so many women — and men — experience the pain and loss of miscarriage, talking about it, and not suffering in silence as though it were something to be ashamed about, could be beneficial. We call them "stars" because we look up to them, but sometimes knowing that they've got real, human issues makes us feel closer. In the context of hip-hop — known for its braggadocio and exaggeration — Jay-Z's very public disclosure of a very difficult, very private matter makes a huge statement: Women aren't the only ones affected by miscarriage, and the very act of discussing it ("Last time, the miscarriage was so tragic/ We was afraid you would disappear/But nah, baby, you magic").