Common has released a new memoir titled Let Love Have The Last World. In it, the veteran rapper/actor details a painful incident in which he was molested as a child.
According to Common, he managed to forget the memory of his molestation — perhaps as a coping mechanism — until he began working on a film called The Tale in 2017. The movie told the story of the director’s childhood abuse, which made Common recall his trauma while discussing the script with actress Laura Dern.
“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 to take closer looks at the previous scene. I said to Laura, ‘I think I was abused.’ Right there, it all came back to my mind as if someone had suddenly inserted deleted scenes into that little movie in my head, scenes that I hadn’t remembered or thought about before, scenes I couldn’t even remember remembering.”
Common said he was molested during a family trip to Cleveland. His abuser, a relative of his godbrother Skeet, is referred to as “Brandon” in the book.
Before sharing his account of what happened, he recalled a time when Brandon made him feel uncomfortable a few months prior to the trip. The situation involved Brandon putting his hand on Common’s shoulder and back.
The awkward moment made Common feel nervous when the family went to Cleveland. He was assigned to a room with Brandon but didn’t voice his concern despite what happened months before.
When it was time to go to bed later that night, he was sexually abused.
“I don’t remember how much time passed, but 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.’ That aside, I just kept pushing away his hand, then his hands. And he kept saying something like, ‘It’s okay, it’s okay, everybody does this.’ Whether that was true or not didn’t matter to me at all—I knew I didn’t want any part of what he wanted. I felt his hand on my crotch; I said ‘No’ more forcefully, but not loud enough for anyone else to hear us.”
Common continued, “He kept saying, ‘It’s okay, it’s okay’ as he pulled down my shorts and molested me. After he stopped, he then kept asking me to perform it on him. I kept repeating ‘No,’ and pushing him away. Thinking back, I should’ve gotten up from the bed and ran out of the room; but I felt a deep and sudden shame for what happened, and for what he kept trying to make happen, as if I had brought it all on myself. I didn’t want to say anything, to anyone, and hoped that he would just leave me alone, and go to sleep, which, eventually, he did once I fought back enough that he knew I was not going to touch him at all.”
The Grammy winner said the abuse didn’t continue for the rest of the trip, and he kept quiet about what happened. After some time, he managed to ignore the incident completely until 2017.
While he wished it never happened, he said he’s forgiven Brandon. The acclaimed MC declared he wanted to “be a person who helps break cycles of violence and trauma.”
Common’s Let Love Have The Last World: A Memoir is available now.