After a horrifying event, the celebrity must do right
Unless someone’s been living under a rock for the past week, everyone has been made aware of the horrifying and appalling details and stories that broke soon after the end of night one at Travis Scott’s Houston-based 2021 “Astroworld Festival”.
Scott’s Astroworld Festival began in 2018, with nothing but praise for the rapper’s intuitiveness, creativity and effort to begin his own festival. The grand event was labeled as Astroworld Festival to coincide with Scott’s 2018 release, aptly titled “Astroworld”, which is also a reference to a former Six Flags theme park in Houston, Texas that he attended as a child, and has since been shut down.
The festival received critical and commercial acclaim since its beginning, with the lineups and anticipation getting increasingly bigger each year. Entering its third year (2020’s Astroworld Festival was canceled due to the pandemic), tickets sold out before the full lineup was even announced.
Anticipation for the event aside, audiences knew that the rapper’s performances didn’t come without their antics before the tragedy that was this year’s event. One of the primary reasons that Scott began his festival is due to him being caught up with the law after a wild set at Chicago’s Lollapalooza.
The performance led to violent outbursts within the crowd and Scott being formally charged with “inciting a riot” in 2015. It’s worth noting that Scott’s set lasted approximately five minutes.
This year’s Astroworld Festival was no different, aside from the carelessness of what was going on within the crowd. The night included chants of “Stop the show!”, intense crowd-pushing, hundreds of injuries and nine, tragic deaths to date. Overall, the 2021 performance was marked by chaos, panic and devastation only halfway through the scheduled performances.
The first night’s chaos led to the cancellation of Astroworld Festival’s second night, as well as Travis Scott pulling out of the following week’s Las Vegas festival, “Day N Vegas.” Many are skeptical that Travis voluntarily withdrew himself from the festival, instead choosing to believe that he was forced away by the festival and its promoters, but they allowed him to save face by making it look as if it was his conscious choice to do the right thing.
Now that the event has come and gone, with the possibility of a 2022 Astroworld Festival still in limbo, what will, or should, Travis Scott do next in the center of the public eye? There has been a multitude of attempts to apologize already made, with few working in the direction of forgiveness.
At the time of writing, Scott has made numerous apologies and acts of selflessness in the hope of getting back in the public’s good graces. First, Scott retreated from the Day N Vegas lineup and posted a public (Notes app) apology to social media. The apology was late in the eyes of the public and clearly written by his PR team.
Next, Scott released a public video apology in his defense, still only accepting partial blame for the situation. He also offered to pay for the funeral costs of the nine lives lost and partnered with a debatably exploitative therapy app known as BetterHelp.
The term “partnership” in a celebrity-to-brand deal usually entails the celebrity being paid to promote their company. Whether he’s being monetarily paid, or BetterHelp is gaining popularity from a mass casualty incident, many think it’s sickening for him to be involved with the partnership.
While he may have dug a hole deeper than he can climb out of for the forseeable future, other performers have boosted their public image by doing the right thing. Rapper Roddy Ricch wasn’t even looked at in terms of blame and fault for what happened at the event.
So much so, that he wasn’t even scheduled to perform until the following night. Still, Ricch chose to donate the entirety of his net proceeds that he received from signing up for the festival to the families who lost their loved ones.
Travis could do many other things to improve his public image. He could make a large donation to the families who lost loved ones, or those who were known to have gotten injured at the festival. He could also set up a small, limited-size festival with the proceeds going towards trauma services and therapy centers.
Furthermore, Scott could give the entirety of the Astroworld Festival’s proceeds away to varying charities that aren’t simply a “partnership” such as the one he involved himself in. As he’s currently facing 14 different lawsuits, Scott may be best off simply taking time away from the public eye and media cycle.
With a new album titled “Utopia” and two singles having dropped the night before the festival (“ESCAPE PLAN” and “MAFIA”), this could very well be the worst beginning to an album rollout in recorded history.
Time will only tell what Travis Scott does to earn forgiveness, as well as if the general public chooses to move on and continue supporting him in the future, just as is done with many other high-profile musicians.