Beyond Granite: Pulling Together | Ashon T. Crawley, HOMEGOING

Ashon T. Crawley, HOMEGOING (2023)
Washington Monument–South Grounds
An audiovisual memorial about the impact of the AIDS crisis that centers spirituality as a means of honoring fallen Black queer church musicians.

Ashon T. Crawley’s HOMEGOING mourns and celebrates those gone too soon from the AIDS crisis, past and present, by channeling Black queer music as a spiritual practice. The artist achieves this, as he notes, “by staging an audiovisual memorial to queer musicians, choir directors, and songs from Black church contexts—often closeted, the fullness of their stories still untold.” Crawley’s composition consists of three movements—Procession, Sanctuary, and Benediction—performed in an openair shrine. With sightlines to the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, HOMEGOING is situated in accordance with the National Mall’s legacy of important sites of mourning and resistance, including the first display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in 1987 and the ACT UP protests of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

To listen to HOMEGOING on other streaming platforms, please click here.

Mixed-media sound installation

Musicians: Ashon T. Crawley, JJJJJerome Ellis, and Abdul Hamid Robinson-Royal
Musical director: Clifton Ross III
Assistant musical director: James Johnson
Lead musician and Hammond organist: Abdul Hamid Robinson-Royal
Sopranos: Jeneal Davis, Tinnea Ashley, Jermelle Davis, and Amber Gillespie
Altos: Veda Whisnant, Monet Shelton, Taylor Jones, and Jemila Richardson
Tenors: Clifton Ross III, Jason Calhoun, Sean Tillery, and Jermaine Harris
Drummers: Thomas Morris and Brendan Mills
Recording engineers: Nick Jones, Bias Studios; Aaron Hardin, baseMINT
Sound; Jody Boyd, Red Amp Audio; and Tim Sonnenfeld, Redstar Recording
Mixing and mastering: Nick Jones
Business manager: Kristen Taylor
Project manager: Matthew Seamus Callinan
Fabricators: UAP, RZ-1 Fine Art Solutions, and Justin Geller
Special thank-yous: Betsy Jacobson, Margaret Hewitt, Mike Price, Rachel Schmidt, Kristen Taylor, Christopher Testa, Kendal Brown, Jonathan Adams, Akira Drake, Amey Victoria Adkins-Jones, Meredith Clark, Ronald Crawley, Jr., Crossroads Project, and Gilead COMPASS Initiative Faith Coordinating Center

A Black man grins at the camera, his cheeks rounding with the smile as his white teeth drawout the colors of his white polo and the silvery flecks at the bottom of his black beard. He wears a tan beanie. A blurred cityscape lies behind him.Ashon T. Crawley (Born 1980 in East Orange, New Jersey; based in Richmond, Virginia; he/him/his) is a writer, artist, and teacher, exploring the intersection of performance, Blackness, queerness, and spirituality. He moves in and out of multiple genres to critique the normative world, but also to stage alternatives, to produce otherwise possibility. His audiovisual art has been featured at Second Street Gallery, Bridge Projects, and the California African American Museum. He is also Professor of Religious Studies and African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia.

Follow Ashon T. Crawley on Instagram @ashoncrawley, @ashoncrawleyart, @otherwiseartslab, Twitter @ashoncrawley and learn more about his work.


To read a description of the sounds of HOMEGOING, please click here.

Beyond Granite: Pulling Together is presented by the Trust for the National Mall in partnership with the National Capital Planning Commission and the National Park Service and is generously funded by the Mellon Foundation.

Image Credits

  • Installation image of HOMEGOING. Photo by Steve Weinik, 2023.
  • Ashon T. Crawley at the National Mall during a Beyond Granite: Pulling Together site visit. Photo by AJ Mitchell, 2022.