Trump could use therapy says US rapper Common

Philippe GRELARD
US rapper, actor, writer and activist Lonnie Corant Jaman Shuka Rashid Lynn better known by his stage name Common (formerly Common Sense) talks about how therapy turned his life around ina bestselling memoir, "Let Love Have the Last Word"

He may be the most powerful person on Earth, but Donald Trump needs help, in the opinion of the famously enlightened American rapper Common.

"You can see his actions and behaviour are that of somebody who don't really love themselves," said the singer, who revealed how therapy turned his life around earlier this year in his bestselling memoir, "Let Love Have the Last Word".

The US president is a victim of his own out-of-control ego, the Chicago-born performer of hits like "The Light" commented to AFP before a show in Paris at the weekend.

Trump has "got some issues going on. And those issues need to be resolved," Common said.

"Narcissism is something that can be dealt with. Therapy can help that. And I would subscribe every leader (to it), even if you were a good leader," he told AFP.

"So somebody would really help the country and the world if they would" take the US president aside and tell him, "'Hey, this needs to be part of your programme, some therapy'."

Common speaks from experience with therapy. In his memoir and the accompanying album, "Let Love", the rapper opens up about his time on the couch that helped him put his childhood abuse behind him and grow as a man.

- 'Be quiet and listen' -

Many black men who have been molested hide their abuse, and their feelings generally, Common said.

Therapy helped him be a "more open, more confident person and to accept myself," he said. "It was a real journey," added the rapper, who also meditates.

It also helped him write songs about relationships that are often ignored in the macho world of rap -- those with his mother and his daughter, Omoye.

In "Show Me That You Love" he lays himself bare after Omoye pulled him up for not being there enough for her when she was growing up.

"Her saying all those things was hurtful for me because I thought I did a good job," said Common, who won an Oscar for his song "Glory" for the 2014 film "Selma".

"I was defensive. But then through the process I kind of understood as she was talking, 'Yo, this is her perspective. This is what she feels. That's not wrong.'

"So I basically decided to be quiet and listen and within that process she taught me a little bit about love," he said.

"I respect and hold (women) high and I understand how even the feminine side of even myself is important. That I can be open-hearted and vulnerable and emotional. I want to have that balance of masculine-feminine."

- Understanding women -

One song in his new album, "Fifth Story", is written from the point of view of a woman in a break-up.

"Being able to tell that story from her perspective I guess is my way of acknowledging that, 'Yo, I'm a man but I also understand the feminine'," he added.

Parallels have obviously been drawn with his past relationships with fellow rapper Erykah Badu and the tennis star Serena Williams.

Common had earlier confessed that his break-up with Badu had driven him to seek help, a split he said that "wasn't her fault".

He has since become evangelical about therapy -- which helped him deal with his feelings about a suppressed memory of abuse by a distant relative when he was nine.

"The most important thing I've received out of it is to give others the chance to open up about whatever they've experienced. I feel like by me going out and talking about it, it allows people to be like, 'Man, I can share this. I need to talk about it to heal'."

But perhaps the most surprising of his new songs is his emotional ode to his mother, teacher Mahalia Ann Hines, "Forever Your Love".

"She had to have surgery, and that made me realise just how much I loved her. She gave me everything," Common said.

"She provided love for me and a place for me to flourish and to become a young man that can be open-hearted and loving," he added.

"I wanted to honour her when she could hear the song and appreciate it, while she's on the planet..."