Common Reveals He Was the Victim of Childhood Sexual Assault in Emotional New Memoir
By Zach Seemayer
In Common's new memoir, Let Love Have the Last Word, the rapper and actor gets candid about a past emotional trauma which he's never publicly revealed.
The 47-year-old Grammy and Oscar-winner opened up for the first time about a previously repressed memory of being sexually assaulted as a child, which he's still working to come to terms with.
According to Common's recounting, it was only two years ago that the he first recalled the memory while reading lines with co-star Laura Dern on the set of their film The Tale.
"One day, while talking through the script with Laura, old memories surprisingly flashed in my mind,” he writes. "I caught my breath and just kept looping the memories over and over, like rewinding an old VHS tape."
The film the pair were reading lines for shared similar themes to Common's real-life experience, and explores the experiences of a documentarian (Dern) who discovers a story she wrote as a young girl about her relationship with an older man that leads to her remembering instances of sexual abuse she'd long-ago rationalized and repressed.
On Tuesday, Common sat down with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, where he discussed his new memoir, and addressed his account of being a victim of childhood sexual abuse.
"It was something that I didn't know if I wanted to talk about," the artist admitted. "But I really believe that in telling my story, other people will be OK with talking about that situation."
In Common's memoir, the actor said that he remembered a road trip his family took from Chicago to Cleveland when he was "just 9 or 10 years old." Common wrote that the trip included himself, his mother, his godmother, her son, Skeet, and one of Skeet's relatives, whom the rapper referred to by the name "Brandon."
Common alleges that he and "Brandon" were made to share a bed while at his aunt's house, and that his assailant molested him at night.
"I felt a deep and sudden shame for what happened.” Common wrote, adding that he subsequently "buried" the memory of the incident. "I just pushed the whole thing out of my head."
Let Love Have the Last Word was released Tuesday and is available in stores now.