Chef Jiyeon Lee co-owner of Heirloom Market BBQ will be giving her first performance in the United States since retiring from music at the unveiling of the ‘Young Girl’s Statue for Peace’ in Brookhaven tomorrow morning. The statue is dedicated to the memory of the “comfort women”.
The ceremony is set to begin at 10 a.m. in Blackburn II Park where Lee is slated to sing one song from her K-Pop days in South Korea.
Lee had four number one albums in Korea before retiring from music to attend culinary school. Lee is still widely recognized by fans and makes appearances whenever she returns to South Korea.
She agreed to come out of retirement for the statue’s dedication because she felt strongly about the need to shed light on this little-known piece of World War II history in which the Japanese Imperial Army sexually enslaved approximately 200,000 women and young girls to provide “comfort” for soldiers. Many of the women were from Korea, China, and the Philippines.
Aware of Lee’s popularity in Korea, the Comfort Women Memorial Task Force approached the chef about performing for the ceremony. Chef Cody Taylor, Lee’s husband and partner at Heirloom, said via a phone call today that Lee “doesn’t like to talk about her music career” and was somewhat surprised when she agreed to sing for the ceremony. He told Eater Atlanta, however, Lee “must have felt strongly enough about the meaning behind the statue and in honoring the women and girls who suffered during the war; including many Koreans.”
Brookhaven Councilman John Park, who helped champion the statue’s permanency in the city, told Eater Atlanta via email, “The city of Brookhaven is very proud to be the home for the ‘Young Girl’s Statue for Peace’. We honor the memory of the “comfort women” so that we can educate the community and the world on what has happened and make sure it never happens again.”
He said he is very excited to hear Lee perform for the first time.
The statue is a permanent memorial and joins 53 other municipalities around the world in honoring the memory of the “comfort women”.
It comes at a time when human rights organizations around the world (including the United Nations) are actively working to combat human trafficking.
10 a.m. Friday, June 30, Blackburn II Park, 3509 Blair Cir. NE, Brookhaven.