Shared Stories video transcript

Common, the rapper, shares a stage with Laysha Ward. They both sit in gray office chairs with a small end-table and water glasses between them. The stage is lit with a standing lamp, and a heavy black curtain forms a backdrop. An audience sits close to the stage.
COMMON: I always believe that every day I want to be a better me. Every day I want to work to just develop and grow. And working on self is one of the-- the most difficult ways to grow.
The camera shows a close-up view of Common speaking.
COMMON: Like, it's one of the toughest challenges. Like, I could work on music, and that's challenging too at times. But working on self and dealing with, like, the wounds and the things that are transgenerational or just the things that we've inherited, that's a lot of work. And sometimes growing up I didn't recognize the areas where I needed that help. I was fortunate enough to be open to different spiritual practices, meaning I was raised--grew up in a Christian church, and I believe in God, but I've also been to a Muslim temple. I've been to, like-- I've read Buddhist books. And I just felt like in the path of growing spiritually, mental health was something that--it was a tool and a resource that I needed on that journey if I said I wanted to be a better person. And I kind of discovered that, because I'm like a lot of young black people who grew up thinking that mental health was-- or, you know, seeing a therapist is, "Oh, man, we don't need that.
LAYSHA: Right, so there was a stigma attached to it.
COMMON: It's a stigma. The stigma-- I accepted that stigma for a lot of years in my life.
LAYSHA: How were you able to break through that?
COMMON: I really found myself in a cycle, like, in relationships, meaning I was repeating the same thing over and over. And I had, you know, I had a hood therapist, who was my aunt, like...
A far shot of Laysha and the audience laughing.
LAYSHA: We all got one of those, right?
COMMON: Right. But--but that advice I still was that-- I still was that, like, mouse in the wheel. I was still--it was helping get me through a day or two, but in the long run, you know, it didn't have the-- I didn't have all the tools.
He continues speaking in close-up.
COMMON: Ironically enough, I was in acting class, and my teacher was like, "Rashid, you need to-- I want you to see this therapist." 'Cause I was telling her about, you know, about issues I was dealing with. She said, "I want you to see this therapist. I send a lot of my actors to her." And from the first phone call-- 'cause it was actually a phone call-- I was like, wow, this is really-- this is really informative. It's really healing. I felt like a--like I was able to breathe in a way. And, you know, what I found it to be was something-- a resource where it's a nonbiased person who's professionally, like, trained to--to,
like, diagnose and understand and listen and give me feedback that I can use to move forward, like, real resourceful tools and practical things.