Rap star Travis Scott has been subjected to backlash in the form of public scrutiny and lawsuits following the tragic events that occurred at his Astroworld Festival earlier this month. During Scott’s headlining performance, a “mass casualty” crowd rush occurred, leaving at least 10 concertgoers dead as a result of their injuries, and 300 others injured. Many detractors and critics have placed blame for the incident at the feet of Scott himself, however, rap legend Chuck D has stepped in to defend Scott via an open letter published today (Nov. 19) in Rolling Stone.
In the letter, the Public Enemy founder blasts those singling out Scott and not holding the corporations and venues behind the Astroworld Festival accountable for the events that occurred. “I’m tired of these corporations shucking their most crucial responsibility,” Chuck D wrote. “These folks simply say Rest in Peace and move on. This negligence can’t continue. Folks want answers. I’m not buying the Young Black Man did it.”
He also challenged Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino and Live Nation partner ScoreMore to take on the brunt of the accountability for what transpired at the Astroworld Festival, pointing out that it was not Scott’s sole responsibility to ensure the safety of the concert’s attendees.
Read Chuck D’s open letter in full below:
I cannot believe we’re at the point where I gotta say this out loud: Travis Scott is a performer, an act, not a concert promoter. He doesn’t run the sound or venues or festivals or their staff. He doesn’t build stages or coordinate logistics, he’s not an expert in crowd control or security or emergency medical services. But he does trust Live Nation and all the other concert promoters who are supposed to do all of this. And yet here we are, 10 deaths and counting. 10 broken families.
The world is mourning.
I’m tired of these corporations shucking their most crucial responsibility. These folks simply say Rest In Peace and move on. This negligence can’t continue. Folks want answers. I’m not buying “the young Black Man did it.” He’s being blamed for a crime while the old white men running the corps that Travis and his fans trusted with their lives stay quiet in the shadows, counting their money and watching their stock prices go up and up. The excuse of Scott’s irresponsible actions don’t wash – if his act had a history of that behavior why promote him to bigger venues, why partner with him in the first place and let him headline a bigger audience? Live Nation controlled this show. They control almost all of the concert venues. Artists ain’t speaking out because these same cats are already bought by these corporations. No one can say a word against them unless they want to be Blacklisted and hurt their careers.
So I am calling on Michael Rapino’s entire team at Live Nation and a consortium of all the major concert promoters out there to do the right thing. To step up and step out of the shadows to fix these situations and save lives. To stop letting one Young Black Man take the blame, the hate, the fall. We don’t know everything that happened or exactly what failed. But concert promoters have all the power to make the changes to keep everyone safe and alive.
Live Nation, your stock is up. The White Corporate Music Biz keeps cashing in on Black Pain, Trauma, and Death. This has to stop yesterday. You’re part of the problem. Grow the f*ck up, fix this and let us all LIVE in PEACE.