By David Canfield
May 08, 2019 at 11:00 AM EDT
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Simon & Schuster

News broke on Tuesday that in his new memoir Let Love Have the Last Word, Common reveals that he was sexually abused as a child. It’s an incredibly vulnerable, difficult passage from the book, and as Common reveals in a bonus recording for the audiobook, the decision to write it didn’t come lightly.

“When you talk about mental health or therapy, it’s something that’s looked down upon,” Common says in the recording for Simon & Schuster Audio, specifically about the experience of growing up as a black man in America. “I talked about being molested because, as a black man, many men have hidden that. Many people have hidden that. And you carry that weight with you. But at some point, you’ve got to let it go.”

EW can exclusively debut the interview clip, and you can listen to it below.

In Let Love Have the Last Word, Common explores the core tenets of love to help others understand what it means to receive and, most important, to give love. He moves from the personal — writing about his daughter, to whom he wants to be a better father — to the universal, as he observes that our society has become fractured by issues of race and politics. Sharing his own unique and personal stories of the people and experiences that have led to a greater understanding of love and all it has to offer, the book explores the power and importance of healing.

In a section of the book published yesterday, Common discloses that it wasn’t until two years ago, while workshopping a scene with actress and friend Laura Dern, that a haunting memory of being molested as a kid suddenly came back to him. “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.’”

Brian Bowen Smith

In the exclusive interview below, Common notes that the conversation around trauma and sexual abuse is finally moving forward. “We’re starting a conversation more, so I want this book to continue to forward the conversation,” he says.

Check it out below, as well as an excerpt from the audiobook, in which Common reflects on his role in The Hate U Give as a conflicted police officer. The Let Love Have the Last Word audiobook includes original music written and performed by Common; there’s a musical interlude at the beginning of each chapter and a secret song track at the end. It’s now available for purchase.

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