The Righteous Beauty of the Things Never Accounted For

52 3Arts supporters
$6,010 raised of $5,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on June 15, 2023
    • 120% contributed

I am developing a new experimental dance piece called The Righteous Beauty of the Things Never Accounted For. This work explores Black Fugitivity, a concept that explores the ongoing and historical resistance to systems of oppression that Black people face and the ways in which we have sought to escape or evade those systems in order to preserve our autonomy, dignity, and freedom. Righteous Beauty uses movement as an anchor and source for practicing freedom, allowing us to discover unexpected beauty that’s typically hard to experience in a carceral state. It is an embodied look into existing when the cosmos does not want us to exist. Through fugitive ideas such as wake work, fragmentation, re/memory, and counter-memorial, Righteous Beauty readies us for a way forward. 

About This Project

When I was visiting Japan during a residency, traveling on rapid transit from Kobe to Kyoto, while crossing a bridge, it started to rain lightly. In the briefest of moments, I would say, less than ten seconds, a rainbow did a disappearing act. I looked around the train car to see if others saw it, but from what I could tell, no one did. They all had their heads bowed in their mobile devices.

This may not seem poignant to many people; yet, I thought—especially with the pandemic on the pulse of reeking havoc—what if I never saw a rainbow again!? Rainbows are not necessarily important to Black culture; nonetheless, I see them in how Harriet Tubman relied on the North Star to guide her along the Underground Railroad. Rainbows are a sign of a new beginning, a reminder of the infinite possibilities that life holds. With so many world challenges like mass shootings, Asian hate, police killings and so on, we have to create our own rainbows—find beauty in the most unexpected places, and keep hope ever present. What beauty will we create in the space Black, Indigenous, Asian, and LGBTQIA+ lives no longer occupy due to injustice and violence?

How does Black Fugitivity and Japan come together in this work? Home seems like the right answer in the sense that Kobe feels like the home I did not know I needed to be in. Through developmental residencies in and with communities around the United States and internationally in Japan, my new work, Righteous Beauty, will bring these two disparate things together to keep creating a better world to live and take care of each other in.

I am currently in the developmental phase of Righteous Beauty, working between Chicago and Kobe. In Chicago, I am collaborating with Solomon Bowser, Damon Green, Timothy Tsang, and Dedrick “D. Banks'' Gray. This summer I will return to Kobe to continue refining this work with a Togolese and two Japanese dancers: Alain Sinandja, Ryonosuke Endo, and Kazuma Yamamoto. Other collaborators include scenic designer Sydney Lynne and DJ Ariel Zetina.

Once I return from Kobe, I will have a production residency to prepare for the first full-length preview of Righteous Beauty at Links Hall in late September 2023. After this preview, donors and audiences can further experience the evolution of this piece by attending monthly gatherings at different spaces throughout Chicago that will inform a full production premiere of Righteous Beauty.

3AP funding for this project will help in ensuring the developmental time and process between Chicago and Kobe is successful. This includes getting the Japanese artists to Chicago for the September preview. Additionally, funding will help support material costs for scenic design and technological experimentation.

Thank you for the continued support and making sure we see rainbows!    

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10
    Thank You shout out on social media ($10.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $25
    Above + curated playlist of music that inspired this project ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above + original collage print created and signed by J’Sun Howard ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $75
    Above + J’Sun Howard’s favorite snacks from Japan ($20.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above + haiku chapbook written by J’Sun Howard ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    Above + 2 reserved tickets with VIP seating to the evening-length premiere of "Righteous Beauty" ($125.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Above + post-performance dinner with Chicago cast and crew that will be prepared by J’Sun Howard ($300.00 is tax deductible.)

J'Sun Howard

RH, Restoration Hardware Awardee

J’Sun Howard is a Chicago-based dancemaker. He holds an MFA in Dance and a certificate in World Performance Studies from the University of Michigan. He is a 2020 3Arts Awardee, a recipient of the inaugural Esteemed Artist Award from the …

View J'Sun Howard's profile
  • Update 1: 3ARTS MATCHED!
    Posted on May 07, 2023

    Isabel Fajardo  

    Thank you Thank you Thank you to all the donors and supporters who have contributed to​ our ​campaign so far.​ I've reached one-third of our donation goal with the help of the 3Arts grant match.​ ​I ​only have $1,​308​ more to reach our goal. Your support means so much to me, especially during these challenging times. ​Please ​spread the word and ​I know ​I'll be able to reach my ​goal within ​40​ days. Can't wait to show you what we have in store!
    Update 2: GOAL REACHED!
    Posted on May 11, 2023

    Isabel Fajardo  

    Many heartfelt THANKS to everyone who helped us reach our goal for​ ​Righteous Beauty! With your generous support, we'll be able to bring this project to life and much much more.​​​​ I​ couldn't have done it without you. Stay tuned for updates on our progress and performance dates!

    Update 3: Residency has started of great!
    Posted on June 01, 2023


    I've been in Kobe for about two weeks. I just started rehearsals with Alain and Daiki. They're beautiful movers. I can't wait to bring them to Chicago for the preview show in September. Off to Tokyo this weekend to check out the SAI Dance Festival and possibly Mt. Fuji-san. More to come soon!

    Update 4: Successful Work In Progress Showing
    Posted on July 30, 2023


    We had the work-in-progress showing of this work on Saturday, July 22nd for the Festival for All at Dance Box. I was surprised by how many people were in the audience and that they received the work really well. After all the years of visiting, I finally feel like I have a community here.
    Alain - the Togolese collaborator - curates/produces his own festival every two years in Kobe. He invited me to have the premiere of Righteous Beauty for the 2025 edition! It'd be a full circle moment to do so. The work started at Dance Box and it'd be amazing to culminate this long process, collaboration, and exchange!
    Update 5: We're Finally All Together
    Posted on September 23, 2023


    Alain and Daiki have been here for a week from Japan. They are having a great time. We finally had a rehearsal with the whole crew on Friday, September 22nd. The work-in-progress showing is next week on the 29th and 30th at 7pm. On the 29th, there is a talk-back about the work and how it all came together and moving forward. Hope to see you there!

    Update 6: Standing Ovations On Both Nights!!!
    Posted on October 03, 2023

    Michelle Reid  

    Still beaming from the work-in-progress showing of The Righteous Beauty of the Things Never Accounted For. We got standing ovations on both nights! One of the best responses was "It was one of the best things I have ever seen at Links Hall!" I am also glad Alain Sinandja and Daiki Sogawa could come from JapanI cannot wait to have them back. Including them, Timothy Solomon Bowser, Damon D. Green, and Timothy Tsang were stellar as usual. Thank you to everyone who was able to see the work!

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Penny Godboldo

    • Amy Chavasse

    • Ruby Clay

    • J S

    • Dennis Yueh-Yeh Li

    • Victoria Bradford

    • Mario LaMothe

    • Lisa Lee

    • Megan Mayer

    • Ginger Farley

    • Angela Gronroos

    • Zachary Whittenburg

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Orlando Hunter

    • Tuli Bera

    • Maggie Kast

    • Lia Bonfilio

    • Alia Kache

    • Christy Uchida

    • Bernard Brown

    • Lizzie Leopold

    • Darrell Jones

    • Julia Mayer

    • Nora Sharp

    • Carole McCurdy

    • Bonnie Brooks

    • Takahiro Yamamoto

    • Sophie Allen

    • Kelly Williamson (Anderson)

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Kinnari Vora

    • Rose Parisi

    • Ginger Jensen

    • Suzy Grant

    • Lydia Bell

    • Aaliyah Christina

    • Anna Martine Whitehead

    • Ayako Kato

    • Veronica Ford-Swaby

    • Adam Rose

    • Priscilla Howard

    • Rosa Nguyen

    • leah o'donnell

    • Cat Mahari

    • Monica Brown

    • Jennifer Karmin

    • Sarah Best

    • Dianna Frid

    • Ginger Lane

    • Sara Slawnik

    • Edith Gosier

    • Susan Manning

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

  Joyce Logo

 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council