By Jacob Gross
I didn’t hear about the Travis Scott performance from a newspaper or a blog. I didn’t watch the evening news, and I wasn’t told about it from a friend. Instead, I saw a TikTok of countless people at a festival, screaming, “stop the show.” And I saw Scott, unbothered by the cries of his fans.
My mind stopped. I watched the TikTok video over and over. I was petrified in fear and felt as though that moment was eternity. I didn’t know how many people had died, or how many had been injured, or even what the details of any injuries were. But I knew enough. I knew that people were being hurt, and I was powerless to stop it.
I later learned the details. I figured out that the concert was Astroworld, a festival Scott played at on Nov. 5. I figured out that eight people died and that dozens more were injured.
But the more that I learned about the incident, the less any of it felt real. After I learned how many people died, who and what was at fault, my mind tried to shift away to the next tragedy, the next cancellation.
At Travis Scott’s Astroworld performance, eight people died. Before the show, the rapper tweeted that those who didn’t have tickets should “sneak in.” Scott did not understand the power of this tweet, and dozens of people did sneak in, adding to the deadly mosh pit already underway.
It is reported that Travis Scott stopped the show three times for medical emergencies, asking for people in the crowd to help those who needed assistance. But after he asked for help, he continued his set as though nothing had happened. Scott’s attorney has since claimed that Scott had no idea what was happening, but the rapper’s history does not make that claim plausible.
In 2015 and 2017, Scott was convicted of disorderly conduct for inciting violence at two of his concerts. The rapper pled guilty on both accounts, and only paid a fine in both instances. Both times, the rapper asked for a wild crowd.
I am tired of celebrities and artists pretending like they are the top of the world. I don’t know if I can personally listen to Travis Scott again without this stain being on my conscience. I’m not entirely sure what actions fall into the realm of forgivable, but I cannot forgive the needless death of anybody, especially in a concert setting.
Of course, it was not entirely Travis Scott’s fault. The security and the concert organizers are also at fault. The concert organizers had two stage setups for Astroworld, and during the day, two concerts were supposed to be running simultaneously to split the crowd, but only Travis Scott was playing at 8:45 p.m.
Travis Scott has agreed to help the investigation and has given everyone who attended the concert a refund. Personally, I’m not sure if this is enough. I am not sure what could ever be enough. If you can forgive and forget, if you can still listen to Travis Scott with no more than a passing thought, good for you. For me, I am tired of people like Travis Scott, who use their celebrity and their influence to dance around the lives of common people.
I am tired of turning my head at tragedies and comparing body counts, and I am tired of feeling compelled to read Twitter. I am tired of swiveling my head from side to side at each passing tragedy, expecting to become enraged and enthralled, then dumped out into the week and expected to pretend like nothing ever happened. Most of all, I am tired of celebrities and artists who have nothing to lose, sitting on top of the stage, pleading that they did not know what was happening and were not responsible. Because at the end of it, we’re all just numbers in their mosh pits.