Public Enemy frontman Chuck D has issued a stern warning to Live Nation and other giant promoting companies, imploring them to step up their game in the wake of the deadly Astroworld Festival. On Friday (November 19), the powerful orator issued a press statement obtained by HipHopDX (which he later posted to Instagram) that berated the company for not taking full accountability for the tragic incident that occurred on November 5.
Chuck also defended Scott, who took a lot of the blame for not stopping his performance as soon as he noticed an ambulance making its way through the crowd of over 50,000 people.
“I cannot believe we’re at a point where I gotta say this out loud: Travis Scott is a performer, an act, not a concert promoter,” he wrote. “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.”
Live Nation issued a statement shortly after the tragedy unfolded, saying, “Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival family tonight — especially those we lost and their loved ones. We are focused on supporting local officials however we can.” They also offered full refunds to anyone who attended the ill-fated show. But Chuck D explained why that isn’t enough and posed some valid questions while addressing Scott’s tendencies to “rage” at this shows.
“I’m tired of these corporations shucking their most crucial responsibility,” he continued. “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?”
Instead, he says “Live Nation controlled the show” — not Scott. “Artists ain’t speaking out because these same cats are already bought by these corporations,” he said. “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 fuck up, fix this and let us all LIVE in PEACE.”
— Ashmely?? (@Ashmelym) November 6, 2021
Ten people lost their lives and hundreds of others were injured as a result of the Houston festival. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against Live Nation, Travis Scott, Apple and Drake (who was Scott’s special guest that evening) for gross negligence, totaling billions of dollars. Harris County released the names of the initial eight victims on November 8: Mirza Baig, 27, Rodolfo Peña, 23, Madison Dubiski, 23, Franco Patiño, 21, Jacob Jurinke, 20, John Hilgert, 14, Axel Acosta Avila, 21, and Brianna Rodriguez, 16.
Two others who were severely injured in the melee — 22-year-old Texas A&M University senior Bhari Shahari and 9-year-old Ezra Blount — later succumbed to their injuries, bringing the death toll to 10.