Rapper Common was sexually assaulted as a nine or 10-year-old boy, an incident he recounted in his new memoir, Let Love Have the Last Word.
According to People, the incident occurred during a family trip to Cleveland with his mother, godmother, godbrother, and his godbrother’s relative, who Common called “Brandon” (presumably an alias). Per People:
Arriving at his Aunt’s house in Cleveland, Common says he and Brandon were made to share a bed together one night of the trip.
“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 Common says his abuser would not stop: “He kept saying ‘It’s okay, It’s okay,’ 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,” the rapper writes. “I felt a deep and sudden shame for what happened.”
Common says the shame was so deep, he repressed the memory, only managing to bring it back up while working with Laura Dern in the 2018 film The Tale. The film is about a journalist who explores her own repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse, and the content served as a trigger for Common.
“One day, while talking through the script with Laura, old memories surprisingly flashed in my mind,” he writes in his memoir. “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.’”
Common says he thinks he repressed the memory as “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,” he writes.