NYC ROAR Story Slam 2019



MARCH 27th, 2019   |  7PM – 9:30PM  |  DCTV (87 Lafayette St) (KAS) is proud to announce our third annual ROAR Story Slam — to shine a spotlight on the best Korean American stories and storytellers! In 2019, we are taking the show on the road and holding local events in NYC, LA and Chicago.

New York City is our first destination! The NYC Story Slam will feature five storytelling finalists in a live competition for cash awards, a musical performance by hip hop artist HeeSun Lee, expert judging from a distinguished panel, food and drink, all hosted by iHeartRadio digital host Ellie Lee. 

What is the ROAR Story Slam?

The ROAR Story Slam is a live storytelling event where 5-6 finalists, who have been selected from the first round of video entries, will compete on stage with their personal stories about the Korean American experience. Each finalist will have no more than six minutes to tell their stories, without scripts or props. A panel of judges will watch each performance and then announce the winners at the end of the event.


Special Thanks To:

Sheila Ivy Traister, veteran actress, director and story coach who provided professional coaching sessions to all of our finalists.


1st Place – $1500

2nd Place – $500

3rd Place – $100


Ticket Info:

General Admission: $20

With Student ID: $15

Each ticket includes free food and drinks at the event (yes, there will be wine!).


Note on Accessibility:

There is a ramp up to the event space as well as an elevator to the ADA-compliant bathrooms.




Ellie Lee started her on-camera career interviewing local musicians on Youtube. Her first on-camera gig was in college as a news anchor for Anime News Network. After graduating school, she got the call from MTV K (Korea) to be their new on-camera music host and there, she had the chance to interview some of Korea’s biggest popstars. Fast forward to a year later, she was chosen to be the new pop culture anchor for VH1 News and landed her first live TV gig on “Big Morning Buzz Live” hosted by Nick Lachey where she was the show’s correspondent. Since then, she’s done on-camera work with Amazon, People Style and does entertainment segments on “The Wendy Williams Show”. She recently was seen as a member of the panel on E!’s daytime TV show, “Daily Pop,” and “The Steve Harvey Show.” She is currently the digital host at iHeartRadio where she interviews all the hottest pop stars like Demi Lovato and Ne-yo to name a few.

Aside from hosting, she is also an actress and has been seen in a handful of independent films. She was recently chosen as the 2018 Garden State Film Festival’s Rising Star for her work in the indie drama, “I CAN I WILL I DID” starring opposite Mike Faist (Dear Evan Hansen) and Selenis Leyva (Orange is the New Black).


Featured Performer:


HeeSun Lee isn’t your average Hip Hop emcee. Put up for adoption in her native Korea at the age of four months, she was brought to America and raised by Chinese parents on Staten Island, NY. As a teenager, she became a fan of Hip Hop acts ranging from Lauryn Hill and Will Smith to Tupac Shakur. All of Lee’s diverse experiences have fused to create the illuminating backdrop for her sophomore CD Stereotypes that released on iTunes and other retail outlets on January 21, 2014. It placed #7 on iTunes Christian/Gospel Charts and #24 on Billboard Christian Gospel. Lee’s story is unique in that she credits not only her faith but also Hip Hop for saving her life. “Hip Hop saved me from a lot of things,” she confesses.

“My biggest struggle growing up was with my identity and it all correlates with being stereotyped and not knowing where I belonged because I was adopted.”

Lee envisioned the 16-track CD as a tool to evangelize, while also examining society’s stereotypes like the one that suggests that someone of Korean heritage lacks the spit skills to make it in Hip Hop. “I have had to constantly remind myself that I am legit,” Lee says, of the battle to win cred as an emcee. Through it all, HeeSun has managed to break through every barrier and challenge set before her, as she continues to grow and develop as an artist. @msheesunlee


NYC Finalists:


Claire Choi is a freshman at Binghamton University. Right now, she is striving to become a documentary filmmaker, and to do work in any aspect of that field would make her happy to be doing what she’s doing. Claire loves storytelling in all different art forms and appreciates being able to use this space to reach out to others, share, and listen.  




Seoul-born and LA-raised, Jimin Hong loves to rap, is interested in theology and queer studies, enjoys avant-garde films, craves affection from cats although she is allergic, is a food fighter against violence, and doesn’t understand why ENTP Geminis have a bad rep. She is currently an engineering grad student studying human hands and robotics. Must submit a 3-sentence bio so here is a third ending with peace.




Suyeon Hong is a junior at Yale College majoring in Molecular Biology. She was introduced to slam poetry her freshman year on campus, where she is now a member of Teeth Slam Poets. She hopes to use slam poetry as a means to build solidarity through tenderness and vulnerability, care and creativity.





John Oh‘s favorite Bible verse is John 1:6 because it resonates with him for some odd reason. Formerly a cello performance major at Berklee College of Music, he transferred to Rutgers University and is currently studying English. He enjoys burgers, noodle-based dishes, and the color red.





Jen Kim is a freelance Film, Event and Festival Producer, Director and Writer. She was adopted from South Korea at 16 months old and is the Vice President of Also-Known-As,Inc., a non-profit association for international adoptees. A proud New Jersey resident, she lives in Hoboken with two cats who never help with housework and are constantly in the way of her keyboard.




The contest organizers reserve the right to adjust the judging process and prizes.

Questions? Please contact is a non-profit organization whose mission is to capture and preserve the stories of the Korean American experience.