January 15, 2015 5:52 pm

Rapper Common Portrays Child Molester in MLK Drama “Selma”

Common as Bevel


by Yvette Carnell

Since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., African-Americans have maintained a near obsession with King and his close aides, to the exclusion of other activists of that era, such as Ella Baker, and those who paved the way for King. Keeping the embers of deification smoldering in the flame of our Civil Rights history is dangerous considering what we know about James Bevel, an aide to MLK, played by rapper Common in the movie “Selma”.

Common, the rapper who said during a Golden Globes speech, “I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty”, as if he, a black man, had ever been deployed to manage dissent within poor communities, played a child molester in the movie “Selma.”

During that same speech, Common said, “I am the hopeful black woman who was denied her right to vote”, but in a very literal sense, he actually portrayed a man convicted of sexually abusing his own daughter.

The REVEREND James Bevel, glorified by Common in the movie “Selma”, was convicted of child molestation in 2008.

Bevel’s daughter, Aaralyn Mills, recorded her father making excuses for sexually molesting her during a 2005 phone call. The good reverend actually had 16 children with seven different women, one of whom pushed Mills, 27, to report the molestation to police. Some of Bevel’s children were still living with him, and the siblings were worried about their welfare.

During the recording, Mills asked Bevel if he considered himself a pedophile, to which he replied that all women were prostitutes until they reached the age where sex was only for procreation, the Washington Post reported at the time.

“What female,” Bevel snapped, “produces a son that’s worth a goddamn, that can stand on principles because his mother educated him early on to be principled, because she was principled? Where is one who is not a prostitute?”

Bevel, who recounted to Andrew Young a story of having a conversation with Jesus, was regarded by some as odd. After King’s assassination, Bevel’s religious rants became so outrageous that Young took him to a mental hospital.

Still, however, Bevel had been close to Martin Luther King Jr.  According to the Post, “it was Bevel who conceived a plan to use teenagers in a peaceful march against the forces of Connor.” The first Selma march was Bevel’s idea. Bevel was standing in the parking lot of the Memphis’s Lorraine Motel when King was shot.

Common, apparently, doesn’t know any of this, given his breathtakingly  clueless interview with the Wall Street Journal.  During the interview, the rapper turned actor gushed about the character he played:

James Bevel passed in 2008 so I didn’t get the opportunity to meet him. Ironically enough, I was at the Million Man March that took place in 1995 and he spoke. He’s known for having brilliant ideas about strategizing, waiting to move forward for human rights and for the people.

The disturbed Mr. Bevel is known for a lot more than having “brilliant ideas”.  The least we can do is be honest about it.



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  • darkesspreso says:

    That was a Powerful Post !!!!

  • TinaSue says:

    Whether a Pedophile (Bevel) or a serial rapist (Cosby), people can present one face publicly while living the opposite privately. 
    Why didn’t Common mention Eric Garner along with the policemen?  Doesn’t Garner’s  life matter too?

  • meritofapproval says:

    This was an interesting post, but really, to attack COMMON is utterly ridiculous! Everyone we work, socialize with, hell, LIVE WITH is capable of leading and living a double life, of which most of us know nothing about that side of them. The movie wasn’t about Mr. Bevel’s personal failings. It was about the PUBLIC contributions he made to those who knew nothing about the private man. I wonder if Miss Carnell is similarly outraged by the whitewashed, and glorified portrayal of U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle in “American Sniper”, who in reality liked killing a bit too much and wasn’t as nearly as anguished about it as Bradley Cooper makes him out to be in the film. “Selma” is not about saints, nor, as somewhat condescending article calls “African-Americans near obsession with MLK and his aides”, but about ordinary people who worked together to make wrong thing right. Nothing more. Nothing less. The Academy Award nominations notwithstanding, it is a beautiful and timely film worthy of its status as one of th best films of the year.

  • DonaldThomas1 says:

    Aloha,Around 1970-1, I was a member of the NY chapter of SCLC’s Operation Breadbasket.It was there that I met Bevel who formed an organization called MAN Making a Nation. It’s primary focus at that time was charging the US government with genocide.Bevel was indeed  odd and for all practical purposes had a little cult around him at that time. I have not seen Selma, but I do know that during Dr Kings days, it was Bevel who would lead some of the classes in non violent passive resistance. He would come into a town prior to Dr King and help organize the marches based upon those principles. To say that the man lost his way is an understatement. But he cannot be denied his contribution during the Civil Rights era because it was real and in that context solid.Bevel had mental illness something that our communities need to realize happens to us just like any other people. I can show you literature put out by white people highlighting some of their greatest people who had mental illness. The mental illness does not negate any positive things that they did.No Hollywood movie is a documentary. If you want a documentary of the Civil Rights movement get Eyes on the Prize and stop patronizing the racist Hollywood establishment.

  • darkesspreso says:


    This year Academy Award roles …..

    Octavia Stewart is best known for her Chocolate Pie in The Help …

    James Bevel will be best known as a ignorant country preacher, who taught

    Black children that it was God Like, to turn the other cheek 

    to Cold Blooded, Savagely violent, brutes, who were brutalizing Black folks.

    In May 2007 , Rev; Bevel was arrested and charge with Incest

    His daughter was 13-15 years old @ the time ….

    During the trial the accusing daughter testified that she was repeatedly
    Molested …

    Beginning when she was SIX YEARS OLD ….

    This ignorant negro preacher was the architect of putting Black children

    on the Front Line, being knocked down by Fire Hose and attack by

    Police Dogs ….

  • Watchful says:


    U make some good points, but I sill refuse to see any film associated with Oprah bcuz I don’t trust her to tell the truth when it comes to our ppl.

  • DonaldThomas1 says:

    Watchful DonaldThomas1
    I don’t trust Hollywood period.

  • Watchful says:


    As well u shouldn’t.

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