HeeSun Lee: Finding Beauty in the Ashes

HeeSun Lee is a Korean rapper living in Staten Island, New York. She is someone who seeks to break stereotypes wherever she goes.

She was born in Seoul, Korea and was given up by her parents at birth, living in foster care for four months before being adopted by American parents living in Staten Island, New York.

Due to being adopted, she felt like she never fit in anywhere. For much of her life, HeeSun Lee viewed writing as an outlet in which to find an identity. In high school, she enjoyed listening to hip-hop and memorized lyrics from many of her favorite artists. After her college years, she was part of a ministry doing local performances and outreach events in Queens, New York City. “We went to prisons, foster homes, a lot of different places trying to get the word out there, so I got exposed to a lot and I got to understand a lot of why I’m rapping through this ministry.”

Beauty For Ashes is her third album, the first of which she has released independently. The title is a reference to Isaiah chapter 61; verses 1-3 read (NIV)…

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lordʼs favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

“We’re better than what we think we are. A lot of times we look at our circumstances in life and we let that dictate how we feel and how we live. The truth is everything in our life that we are surrounded with is temporary.”