Common Opens Up About Being Molested As A Child
Common took a huge step recently in opening up for the first time about a painful experience from his childhood—and it’s one that he’s still coming to terms with today. The Grammy-winning rapper just released his new memoir, Let Love Have the Last Word, where he reflects not only on his personal journey, but what he’s learned about himself and that journey from going to therapy.
In the book, Common shares that it wasn’t until two years ago, while workshopping a scene with actress and friend Laura Dern, that a haunting memory of being molested as a child suddenly came back to him.
Both actors were preparing for their roles in The Tale. “One day, while talking through the script with Laura, old memories surprisingly flashed in my mind,” Common writes. “I caught my breath and just kept looping the memories over and over, like rewinding an old VHS tape…I said ‘Laura, I think I was abused.’”
He goes on to share what he now recalls happening to him when he was just 9 or 10 years old while growing up in Chicago. “I was excited for a road trip I was about to take with my family. My mother; my godmother, Barbara; her son and my godbrother Skeet; and his relative, who I’ll call Brandon…”
Once they all arrived at his Aunt’s house in Cleveland, Common says he and Brandon were made to share a bed together one night of the trip. “At some point I felt Brandon’s hand on me,” he writes. “I pushed him away. I don’t remember saying a whole lot besides ‘No, no, no’…He kept saying ‘It’s okay, It’s okay,’ as he pulled down my shorts and molested me. After he stopped he kept asking me to perform it on him. I kept repeating ‘No’ and pushing him away,” he continued. “I felt a deep and sudden shame for what happened.”
In an effort to cope with his experience, the rapper believes he “buried” the painful memories. “I just pushed the whole thing out of my head,” he writes. “Maybe it’s a matter of survival—Even now, two years after that flash resurgence of memories, as I’m writing, I’m still working through all of this in myself and with my therapist.”
Let Love Have the Last Word by Common is available now.
If you suspect domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.