Common is opening up about a painful memory from his childhood.
In his new memoir, Let Love Have the Last Word, the Oscar-winning rapper reveals for the first time that he was molested as a child. He was reminded of the traumatic moment two years ago while preparing for his role alongside actress Laura Dern in The Tale.
“One day, while talking through the script with Laura, old memories surprisingly flashed in my mind,” he writes in the book (via PEOPLE). “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.'”
The abuse occurred when Common was only 9 or 10 years old while on a road trip to his aunt’s house. “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…”
Common says he and Brandon were made to share a bed during which the abuse occurred. “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.'”
But despite his plea, the abuser did not stop. “He kept saying ‘It’s okay, It’s okay,’ as he pulled down my shorts and molested me,” says Common. “After he stopped he kept asking me to perform it on him. I kept repeating ‘No’ and pushing him away. I felt a deep and sudden shame for what happened.”
Common tried to erase the memory from his head. “I just pushed the whole thing out of my head,” he adds. “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.”
Common says that the abuse occurred once and he hasn’t seen Brandon in over 25 years, but he has forgiven him. “I want to be a person who helps break cycles of violence,” he writes. “This is love in action and I intend to practice it.”