Common, 47, has achieved the highest heights of success and has been blessed to travel around the world sharing his gift through the art of hip hop.
But in his new memoir, Let Love Have the Last Word, which drops on May 7, the rapper and actor opens up about a dark secret that he recently faced head on.
In an excerpt obtained by PEOPLE, the rapper revealed that during a workshopping scene with actress Laura Dern two years ago, the memories of his childhood trauma came crashing down while the two were running lines for their HBO film,The Tale.
“One day, while talking through the script with Laura, old memories surprisingly flashed in my mind,” he writes. “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 memory that repeated for Common was recalling a trip he took with his family when he was 9 or 10 years old. The family was traveling from Chicago to Cleveland.
“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…” the Oscar and Grammy winner writes.
“Brandon” and Common, whose real name is Lonnie Lynn, were told to share a bed during the first night of the trip. And that is where Common said his whole life changed.
“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.’”
“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,” he continues. “I felt a deep and sudden shame for what happened.”
Up until the moment with his co-star, the rapper says that he was unable to digest what had occurred. He resorted to suppressing his memories of the painful incident.
“I just pushed the whole thing out of my head,” he writes. “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.”
Though Common said that he has not had contact with his abuser for over 25 years but has found the peace inside to forgive. Common hopes his journey will be of service to others.
“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.”