Common revealed that he was molested as a child in his new memoir Let Love Have the Last Word.
The rapper and actor said that he was 9 or 10 years old when a relative of his godmother molested him. He gives the abuser the name "Brandon," and described the traumatic experience.
“At some point I felt Brandon’s hand on me,” he wrote. “I pushed him away. I don’t remember saying a whole lot besides ‘No, no, no.'”
Common said that he immediately felt a "deep and sudden shame" after the incident. He added that the terrifying moment in his childhood was suppressed by his brain, only coming to the surface while he was working through a scene as an adult with actress Laura Dern.
“I just pushed the whole thing out of my head,” he wrote. “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.”
He also described the way in which the memory was unearthed, talking through the experience of realizing he was molested years before.
"One day, while talking through the script with Laura, old memories surprisingly flashed in my mind,” he wrote. “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.'”
Common said that he has worked through the experience in therapy and has forgiven "Brandon" for what he did (though he hasn't spoken to him in over two decades).
“I want to be a person who helps break cycles of violence,” he said. “This is love in action and I intend to practice it.”