US Rapper/Actor, Common Talks Life, Family & Sexual Abuse He Suffered As A Child

American actor and rapper, Common has opened up about everything he’s been through and that’s exactly how he wanted it.

In a just-released memoir ‘Let Love Have the Last WordA Memoir, the activist and Oscar winner writes about God, self-love, partners, children, family, and his harrowing childhood experience, .

The single dad also explores the core tenets of love to help others understand what it means to receive and, most important, to give love. He moves from the personal—writing about his daughter, to whom he wants to be a better father —to the universal, where he observes that our society has become fractured under issues of race and politics.

He knows there’s no quick remedy for all of the hurt in the world, but love—for yourself and for others—is where the healing begins.

For the first time, the Chicago rapper whose real name is Lonnie Corant Jaman Shuka Rashid Lynn, disclosed that he was molested as a child.

“The Light” hit-maker reveals he was around 9 or 10 years old when was inappropriately touched by a friend’s relative. He recalls taking a family road trip to visit an aunt in Cleveland, Ohio, where he and his abuser, who he calls “Brandon,” had to share a bed. Common writes:

“At some point I felt Brandon’s hand on me. I pushed him away. I don’t remember saying a whole lot besides, ‘No, no, no.’ He kept saying ‘It’s OK, It’s OK,’ 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. I felt a deep and sudden shame for what happened.”

READ ALSO: Mike Tyson Opens Up About His Horrific Childhood Sexual Abuse

The versatile artist says the memories began to surface as he and his friend, actress Laura Dern, were prepping for their scenes in the 2018 dramatic film, The Tale. The 47-year-old further shares:

“One day, while talking through the script with Laura, old memories surprisingly flashed in my mind. 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.'”

READ ALSO: Sexual Abuse: 11 Basic Ways to Keep Your Child Safe

Common decided to seek therapy to help him come to terms with the painful past, and he almost didn’t include the story in his new book, until he recognised his ability to aid others in similar situations, especially those in black communities. He explains on U.S. breakfast show “Good Morning America“:

“It was something that I didn’t know if I wanted to talk about, but I really believe that in telling my story, other people will be OK with talking about their situation. The work on myself is helping me go out and be a better human being to others.

“I’m a black man and we don’t talk about those issues in ways that we could. So I felt I wanted to create a space for people who have experienced that to be able to share that as part of their healing.”

He immediately discovered his efforts had worked. Common says:

“No sooner had I told that story, one of my good friends came out and told me it had happened to him.”

The star hasn’t seen Brandon in over two decades, but he’s since learned to forgive him. He adds:

“It’s still a process for me but I have to look at my life and know (the molestation was) somebody else’s pain that they kinda distributed to me and I don’t want to carry that.”

In the sit down interview, Common also spoke about his relationship with his 22-year-old daughter. He admitted that he missed out on his daughter Omoye’s formative years because he was too busy working. But he grew from it and that personal revelation spawned the book. He states:

READ ALSO: “Pay attention to the boy-child too” – Man, Abolaji Dairo, Who Was Sexually Abused By Maid At Age 7, Writes About The Bitter Experience

“I believe that I was doing a good job, right? And when she told me those things, it kinda shook me, because at first I was defensive, I was getting angry at some of the things she was saying. But then, that really sparked the book in many ways because I was like, man, what’s the best way for me to love her right now?”

He said the best thing he could do after hearing her side was “to listen and hear her perspective, because no matter what I feel and what I think I did, she’s telling me her side of things and that’s what she feels.”

Now, after writing this book, “our relationship has been able to grow,” he said of his daughter.

Now that he’s dealt with the past in a constructive way, Common has his sights set on being a loving husband to the future woman of his dreams. He’s also got a pretty amazing relationship adviser.

“Michelle Obama, she has definitely helped talk me through just certain moments of relationships,” he said about the former first lady and social icon.

“We had conversations and she has given me a lot of wisdom. One great thing that she told me as I was going through this journey was that you have to understand, you’re not gonna get anybody that’s perfect because you’re not perfect.

So understand that there’s some certain things that you will compromise in choosing that partner. But as long as the core values, that are most important to you, that person, you know, marks off on that list, then you’re good.”

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