Common says he was molested by a family friend as a child

The rapper and actor says he recovered the memories two years ago while preparing for his role in “The Tale,” a film about child rape.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Janelle Griffith

Common on Wednesday explained why he decided to open up in his latest book about being molested as a child — to help others.

The rapper, actor and activist, whose real name is Lonnie Lynn, said in a series of tweets that he wrote his new memoir, "Let Love Have the Last Word," in part to help lift the stigma of sexual abuse.

"I hope being open about my childhood trauma can give others the strength to do the same and help them on their healing journeys," he said. "We all have experienced pain and suffering. It’s nothing to be ashamed of."

He also said that he made the disclosure for cultural reasons.

"I talked about being molested because, as a Black man, many men have hidden that," Common, 47, said. "Many people have hidden that. And you carry that weight with you. But at some point, you’ve got to let it go."

In the book, which was released Tuesday, Common says it wasn't until two years ago, while preparing for his role in “The Tale,” alongside Laura Dern, that he uncovered memories of being molested, according to People. The 2018 film is a true story about child rape.

“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.’”

He wrote that the abuse happened at age 9 or 10, during a family trip to Cleveland, when he had to share a bed with his godbrother’s relative, whom he refers to as “Brandon.”

After the incident, he said he felt "a deep and sudden shame for what happened."

The Grammy, Golden Globe and Oscar-winning rapper has since forgiven his abuser, he said in the new memoir, and, with the help of his therapist is still working through what he endured.

“I want to be a person who helps break cycles of violence,” he wrote. “This is love in action and I intend to practice it.”