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Rapper Common reveals he was sexually abused as a child

Common Image copyright Getty Images

The rapper and actor Common says he "felt a deep and sudden shame" when he was sexually abused as a child.

The Grammy and Oscar-winner says he spoke out because many black men who have been molested hide their 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 says.

The 47-year-old says he had suppressed the memory until he was working on a film two years ago.

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Common, whose real name is Lonnie Lynn, was starring in the film The Tale, which is about a woman's childhood sexual abuse, when he remembered the experience.

He was working on a scene with actress Laura Dern when the memory resurfaced.

"Old memories surprisingly flashed in my mind," he writes in his new book.

"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'."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Laura Dern and Common

The abuse came from a relative of his godmother, although Common doesn't reveal the person's true identity but instead calls him Brandon.

He says it happened when he was nine or 10 years old on a family trip to his aunt's house in Ohio.

"At some point I felt Brandon's hand on me," he says.

"I pushed him away. I don't remember saying a whole lot besides 'No, no, no'."

Common won a Grammy in 2003 for the song Love Of My Life with Erykah Badu, and won another in 2008 for Southside, featuring Kanye West.

He's also won a best original song Oscar in 2015 for Glory, which was on the soundtrack to the Martin Luther King Jr biopic Selma - and also won him his third Grammy.

As an actor he's been in films including Happy Feet Two, Terminator Salvation and John Wick: Chapter 2.

His new book is called Let Love Have the Last Word and is about his experiences with therapy.

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