Travis Scott Opens Up About ASTROWORLD Tragedy: “It Really Hurts”

Paul Cantor
4 min readDec 9, 2021

Back on November 5th, ten people died and dozens more were injured during a performance by rapper Travis Scott at “Astroworld.” With reportedly 50,000 people in attendance at the music festival, which took place at NRG Park in Houston, TX, Scott is now facing multiple lawsuits (one source pegs it as 140, another at 275), the most notable being a $10 billion suit recently filed by the law firm Brent Coon & Associates, representing more than 1,500 plaintiffs.

Until now, Scott has, for the most part, been quiet about the tragedy, a calamity of mass proportions triggered when a large group of concertgoers rushed the stage, leading to attendees like 16-year-old Brianna Rodriguez, 27-year-old Danish Baig, 21-year-old Franco Patino, and 21-year-old Jacob Jurinek, among others, perishing.

Behind the scenes, he’s sought to make amends, offering to pay for the funerals — a gesture rebuffed — and extending an offer of one month paid teletherapy to all attendees (which hasn’t been without controversy). He’s also tried to have the lawsuits dismissed, something that families of the victims reportedly aren’t pleased about.

James Lassiter, a Houston attorney representing the family of Bharti Shahani, a 22-year-old student at Texas A&M who died at the event, told CNN: “Travis Scott’s attempt to escape responsibility for creating a deadly situation from which his fans could not escape is shameful and, sadly, true to form.”

The public backlash against Scott has been swift — and arguably unfair — which may be the reason he is now speaking out publicly. In a 50-minute interview with Power 105 FM’s Charlamagne tha God, posted to the radio personality’s YouTube page, Scott appeared both glum and remorseful.

“It really hurts,” he said. “It’s a lot of feelings, a lot of grieving.”

Seeming to choose his words carefully, he explained that “things happen at concerts,” noting that there are instances in which people pass out, but he stopped short of saying he expected anything as drastic as what occurred at Astroworld, which he only learned about after the concert was over.

“You can only help what you can see,” he said. “And whatever you’re told. When someone tells you to stop, you stop.”

Pushing back against the argument that he could have stopped the show earlier, thereby preventing the tragedy, he said he was not fully aware that anything improper was actually taking place.

“You got lights, you got sound, you got pyro, you got your in-ears, you got your mic, you got the music, you got the band, you got all type of stuff going on,” Scott said. “Everything just sounds the same. At the end of the day, you just hear music.”

Pressed further by Charlamagne, who noted that Scott had, in fact, stopped the show at one point to let an ambulance enter the grounds, the rapper said he wasn’t entirely even sure it was an ambulance at first. He couldn’t tell what, exactly, was going on. But after checking with the crowd, all seemed okay, and he continued the performance.

“If it’s something detrimental, someone is going to let you know,” he said. “Or, the show would just stop. And that just wasn’t the case. I just kind of stopped the show; you ask — you have a call and response with the fans, you try to generally get a response — but if you don’t get a ‘stop,’ you just go off of what’s going on. Which makes it so crazy, because I feel like, if anyone would have known, it wouldn’t have got that far.”

Regarding concert safety, Scott put the onus on himself to figure out how to move forward, saying he has a responsibility to understand out how things went wrong at Astroworld, and provide a solution. But he wanted his longtime fans and the families of the victims to know they weren’t alone in processing the tremendous grief that had come from something meant to be so festive and joyful.

“I’m always here. I’m in this with you guys and I love you. I’ll always be there to help you heal through this. I understand what they’re going through, they’re grieving right now; and it’s not just a right now thing, it’s a forever thing,” he said. “These people that came to the show, they are family. I’ve always had that connection to the people, I feel like, that listen to the music or came to the shows. And that’s why it’s really hard on me to even like…they lost their loved ones, you know. So, it’s tough. I just want them to know I’ll always be there for them, and I’m gonna fix this for the future people, and fix this problem, find the solution so that this doesn’t happen in the future.”

Watch: A Conversation with Travis Scott and Charlamagne Tha God

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Paul Cantor

Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.