Column: Astroworld and Travis Scott: Was he in the wrong?

Micah Sanders, Editor-In-Chief

Amid a global pandemic, 50,000 people attended a congested and suffocating concert in Houston, Texas, leaving several injured and nine reported deaths so far. Jacques Bermon Webster II, famously known as Travis Scott, performed his critically acclaimed album “Astroworld” when all hell, literally, broke loose. 

While many individuals attend a concert to support their favorite artist, buy merchandise, and sing along to songs, many were screaming for help and gasping for air at this concert. As more and more videos and information surface, law enforcement, event organizers and fans are still figuring out what went wrong, and I think it all boils down to one thing – control. 

In May 2021, Scott sold out his tickets for Astroworld under an hour after the release. However, as the news disheartened most fans, Scott encouraged his fans to sneak into the already fully sold-out venue. In a now-deleted tweet, Scott said, “Naw and we still sneaking the wild ones in!!” Not only does this harbor recklessness and gross negligence, but this also is not the first time Scott’s tweets and actions have had disastrous outcomes, the first being in 2015 at Lollapalooza and a show in Arkansas in 2017. 

Instead of sneaking in the concert, his fans stampeded through the gate like a pack of wild boars. While some ran through the gate, others jumped over the wall bypassing and destroying the VIP section and several other areas at NRG Park. 

Once 9 p.m. hit, Scott began his set, and that is when the crowd started to rally toward the front of the stage, causing some injuries and panic. After 30 minutes of performing, Scott notices an ambulance in the crowd and mentions it but just keeps going as if nothing happened. As more time passes, more and more people are seen passed out on the floor, being lifted out of the railings, and receiving CPR from various medical professionals. Still, to no avail, Scott keeps performing his set as if he is oblivious to what is going on. 

To combat this pressing issue of overcrowding and lack of breathability, several fans chanted, “stop the show!” One fan can actually be seen going up onstage and yelling that people are dying, and still nothing worked. 

Scott’s representative and former Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said that Scott could not have stopped the concert, calling it “ludicrous.” What is ludicrous about the situation is the fact that Scott knew what the problem was, could have stopped it, and decided not to.

 If Scott wanted to truly stop the show, he could have. Scott is the performer, and if the performer says to stop the show, the show will stop no matter what. 

Look at the many celebrities in the past who have had rowdy crowds and were able to control them just by their presence alone, and none of them had a McDonald’s meal named after them. Scott certainly has a prominent presence over his fans, and I believe if he told them to do something, they would do it. He is like the conductor of an orchestra, he sets the tone, mood, and setting of any event. Even during the concert, when Scott told his fans to go crazy, they did, so if he told them to chill, they would. 

For publicity and control purposes, Scott uploaded an apology video to Instagram for all of his fans that lacked sincerity and felt very forced. Nothing he could have said or done would have dosed the scorching flames that is the Astroworld tragedy. The rapper tried to look distressed and sad, but instead, it gave off a very nonchalant feeling as he still made millions from the concert besides the ticket sales. This just truly goes to show that people need to reevaluate and reexamine these people that they put on high pedestals and idolize. No person, celebrity or not, is worth dying for. 

So, what now? The attendees received their refunds, and Scott canceled his Day N Vegas festival appearance, but is that all? 10 people are still dead, the youngest being nine, and several families are mourning their loved ones. No number of apologies or monetary compensation will heal the wound. 

I believe that Scott needs to take better control of the situation, take accountability for what occurred, offer services to those affected, and create better solutions for the future.

Hopefully, after this concert, fans and celebrities will severely consider the security measures put in place to ensure their safety and comfort. The next time that a concert is sold out, let that mean that no one else is allowed in, no matter how big of a fan they are. These safety measures are put in place for a reason and let us continue to abide by those rules.