Ishmael Beah was an innocent boy who enjoyed playing football, swimming in the streams, and even started a rap and dance group with his friends and older brother. The group discovered their love for rap music from old cassette tapes of O.P.P, Run D.M.C, and the Sugarhill Gang. Ishmael and Junior, along with their other friends cherished these few hip hop and rap cassette tapes. Ishmael constantly carried these couple tapes on him at all times. They choreographed dance routines and memorized all of the lyrics. The boys also entered a talent show in a close town. Ishmael, Junior, Talloi, and Mohamed have been singing and dancing to rap music since they first formed the group when Ishmael was only eight years old. They learned of rap during a visit to Mobimbi, where their fathers worked for an American company. They were transfixed by the music and returned to Mobimbi as often as they could to watch rap on their big television. Ishmael was shocked mostly because the black men could speak English so well and so quickly to the beat (Lisa).
Ishmael and his group were inspired by the rap music. Music represented Ishmael’s transformation into the modern world. The entire group is mesmerized by rap musicians. Music became a way to escape reality of the war, express themselves by writing lyrics, and it eventually saves their lives. Ishmael and the boys all worked together as a group to create music. They also started changing the way they would dress, act, and speak to be like these musicians. Ishmael and his friends were just like any ordinary innocent group of young boys wanting to be like famous musicians. This is why many readers of the book are attracted to Ishmael’s character, because he is very relatable. Ishmael, Junior, Talloi, and Mohamed remind me of myself when I was their age (Essien). I would gather my neighborhood friends and pretend we were each a different member of Destiny’s Child. Just like Ishmael’s group of friends, we
Cited: Essien, Iquo. "Five Questions for Ishmael Beah." The African. African Media Inc., 18 June 2007. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. . Lisa. "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah." Buttery Books. Buttery Books, 07 2011. Web. 27 Oct 2012. Nussbaum, Ken. "A Long Way Gone ." Relevant Magazine . 13 2007: n. page. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. .