In the wake of the Astroworld Festival accident which left more than 300 people injured and at least ten dead so far, the face of the festival, Travis Scott, has become the target of most of the criticism for the fest’s ill-preparedness and received a slew of lawsuits from those affected, ranging from the reasonable to the utterly frivolous.
However, the Houston rapper has at least one supporter in his corner: Public Enemy founder and hip-hop pioneer Chuck D, who writes in an open letter published today in Rolling Stone that the blame should rest squarely on the event’s promoter Live Nation (which has since launched a fund for injured festival attendees). “I’m tired of these corporations shucking their most crucial responsibility,” he writes, 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.”
Instead, he calls on Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino and Live Nation partner ScoreMore to not only accept responsibility for the disaster at the recent concert but also for hooking up with Travis in the first place, despite his history of inciting irresponsible behavior at his shows. In Chuck’s view, “Concert promoters have all the power to make the changes to keep everyone safe and alive.” And you have to admit… he has a point.
You can read the full letter below.
I cannot believe we’re at the point where !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.