On the most recent episode of “Red Table Talk,” musician and actor Common sat down with Jada Pinkett-Smith, Gammy and Willow to discuss the tension that existed between him and his daughter Omoye, learning his triggers in romantic relationships and his relationship with Angela Rye these days.
Check out the highlights below.
Jada: I was really moved by your book in terms of you repairing your relationship with your daughter. Because we had a little bit of that in our house. Will just thought that winning, he thought providing was enough. Until one day, Willow was like, ‘This is hurting me.’
Willow: I don’t even think it was a conversation. It was just me choosing to be like ‘No.’
Jada: This was during the “Whip the Hair.” It took her and that relationship for him to stop and reevaluate what is love.
Common: My daughter Omoye confronted me. It was a late-night call so I thought I was getting a call like, ‘I’m a cool dad.’ It was 2 in the morning. I had to start a film the next day so I said, ‘Ima call you back. Let’s talk tomorrow.’ And she called me right back like, ‘Yo, you don’t even care. You ain’t even see where I was at.’ And it really, it shook me for a minute. I was like, ‘What are you talking about? I do care.’ And her mother and I weren’t together. Eventually, that conversation turned into her saying you weren’t there for me, you didn’t fight for me as a father. It made me feel defensive. I was hurt and I was mad too. I was like, ‘You really believe some of this stuff.’ What I really learned, after I got past my own ego, I said, ‘Look, you right, I didn’t fight.’ And I had to acknowledge that. I just need to listen to her because this is what she’s feeling. No matter what I think I’ve done and this and that, this is how she feels. And that was one of those the heavens open moments and how to apply love more.
Jada: In the way it looked for her. You probably thought you were doing your thing.
Common: I didn’t grow necessarily with my father, right? So a lot of ways I learned to be a man is from my homies and other father figures. And the provide and protect are the two most important things we learn. And I’m a caring individual but I had to get past just providing and protecting because love is a action word. That type of understanding and just paying attention is what we weren’t equipped with…
When you put the truth on the table, it strengthens the relationship. Omoye was harboring those feelings. She felt like, ‘I didn’t always have my dad here so if I tell him some stuff he did wrong, I’ll have him less.’ Once she was able to put it out, she felt liberated and free. And now, she’s more secure in the fact that you can tell your dad whatever you need to tell him and the love is going to be there. We had our own therapy session together. And she was smart about it. She was like, ‘Dad, before this book come out we need to resolve this.’
We’re doing great overall, she just graduated from Howard University.
His daughter’s reaction to learning he had been molested.
Common: She was like did this really happen to you? I was like, ‘Yeah.’ And that’s when she started processing. and she said, ‘I really am proud of you.’ When your daughter tell you she’s proud of you, you feel that.
His relationship with his mother affecting his romantic relationships with women
Common: My mother gave me all the love she could but some of that love was even pain because of her and my father not being together and that struggle. A single mother sometimes will put the responsibility of a husband on a young boy. And the child is like, he’s trying to do his best but he can’t do what a husband can do, just providing the emotional energy and love. And that eventually transfers into an intimacy avoidance. So anytime that show up in a [romantic] relationship, you’re like no. You’re like this feels familiar in a bad way.
And the mothers they don’t know they’re doing that. They’re just trying to offer their love. I’ve been in situations where I’ve been in a good relationship but the woman, she needed certain things and I felt like it was being too much. It reminded me of my mother. I need to identify is this really happening and if it is, I should be able to communicate that and say the things I need. And that’s what the therapy has helped me with. And I’m like, ‘Black people, let’s use therapy, man.’ From a personal level to a generational level, we can use it to heal.
Jada: There was a line in the book where you thought love was desire.
Common: Men really identify this yearning for this person being a love thing. When that in love, honeymoon phase goes, I would go, ‘This don’t feel as good.’ I would start coming up with excuses on why the relationship is not gon work. ‘When I’m in relationships, I don’t do work as well.’ My albums are not as good or I don’t focus. And I really believed that.
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Wanting to be a husband
Common: For a long time, I was in and out with that. Do I really wanna be a husband or am I doing this because this is what society says to. Now, I just want that partnership to be able to experience life, where I’m growing as a human being and it’s fun too. I know it’s hard at times.
Whether or not he’s dating Angela Rye again?
I am dating and I have a great companion and that companion could be that person right there.
This story was originally published on MadameNoire.com.