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Does Travis Scott deserve to be Canceled?

By Sana Haidary

When it comes to experimenting, Travis Scott may be one of the best in the industry. While using some of the most unique sounds, Scott ties in the original fundamentals of rap music to create out-of-this-world tracks. His influence has helped break down barriers in hip-hop, allowing artists to be more free and creative with their sound. Artists like Post Malone, Lil Nas X, and Lil Uzi Vert may not be possible without Scott. There is no doubt he has played an important part in the music industry and produced some of the greatest hits. However, there are many who believe his time of fame and support from billions of fans should come to an end because of the Astroworld Concert in Houston. 

The Astroworld concert is an annual music festival held in Houston. While Scott’s previous Astroworld concerts have been tremendous hits, this one took an entirely catastrophic approach. Eight people ranging in age from 14 to 27 were killed and hundreds were injured at the event due to stampeding, suffocation, drug overdoses, lack of protocol and security from Scott and his team, and blatant insane fandom. 

This tragedy has led to there being two opinions being formed– loyal fans who continue to support and defend Travis and those who believe he should immediately be canceled and held accountable for his actions. Cancel culture entails being culturally blocked from having a prominent public platform or career. The public usually decides to take the action of “canceling” someone through forms of boycott. In this case the question of whether Travis Scott should be a victim of this culture has arisen. The only perspective of the events that unfolded that night is through two very different lenses. One was the crowd that seemed to be experiencing crowd surges and when things start to go wrong with the crowd and panic sets in, bad things happen. If there are thousands of bodies pushing forward, it is not possible for one person or even a few people to fight back; very little can stop it. People tend to get caught up in the frenzy of the moment and cannot stay calm or rational in situations like concerts. 

The other lens is that of Travis Scott who was performing. It is very obvious that his point of view as a performer will be much different than the perspective of an observer. From his point of view, "he was unlikely to have been able to see what was happening". It’s not the first time this has happened at concerts since the musicians can’t always see into the crowd because of the bright lights. He tries to make the argument that when he's up on the stage, and he has flash pots going off around him and he has an ear monitor that has music blasting through it and his own voice -- he can't hear anything, he can't see anything. Analysis of security tapes also suggested that the concert continued for about an hour after audience members first appeared to be in distress. Video clips from the night and security cameras examined by the newspaper recorded several attempts by individuals to sound the alarm, only to be drowned out by Scott’s performance. However, there are people who counterclaim this by saying they were yelling at him to stop the concert and the fact that people had died.  There is no doubt that the concert was poorly organized: EMTs were not given easy access because of the crowds, and there should have been more security even before the concert started to make sure no more people than the maximum capacity enter. 

The question still arises whether this is all Travis Scott’s fault. He claims to not even know about the fatalities of his concert until the next day. People are quick to point the finger to him at everything butit’s also necessary to understand that, when it comes to festivals this big, there is a chain of command. According to the security plans for the concert which have come to light, it shows that Travis along with four other people all had the responsibility to stop the concert. Additionally, when looking at the 56-page Event Operations Plan for the Astroworld Festival. It says "the festival employs experienced, licensed event security to assist with crowd management and security at the scene of an incident." The after-math accounts given by the people who attended are heartbreaking. No festival or concert ought to be set up in such a poor manner that people die. We glorify celebrities to the point of insane fandom. It is understandable to get caught up in the excitement and not pay attention to your surrounding but public safety starts from the organizer all the way down.