Travis Scott launches safety initiative after Astroworld tragedy: ‘I need to step up’
Travis Scott has launched an initiative centering on event safety after 10 people were killed at the rapper’s Astroworld music festival in Houston last year.
On Tuesday, the “Sicko Mode” hitmaker unveiled Project Heal, a multipronged campaign encompassing an HBCU scholarship fund, a creative design education program, mental health resources and a coalition working to make live events, such as Astroworld, safer for attendees.
“I’ve been taking the time and space to grieve, reflect and do my part to heal my community,” Scott — whose legal name is Jacques Berman Webster II — wrote on Instagram.
“Most importantly, I want to use my resources and platform moving forward towards actionable change. This will be a lifelong journey for me and my family. While it’s easy for corporations and institutions to stay in the shadows, I feel as a leader in my community, I need to step up in times of need.”
In conjunction with the Grammy nominee’s philanthropic Cactus Jack Foundation, applications are now open for the Wayman Webster spring 2022 scholarship, which will award $10,000 apiece to 100 students at historically Black colleges and universities who have a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher and are experiencing financial insecurity. The scholarship is named after Scott’s grandfather, who attended and taught at Prairie View A&M University, an HBCU.
Additionally, the “Goosebumps” artist is expanding his Houston-based CACT.US Youth Design Center to include a creative design education program for middle and high school students interested in fashion, art, technology and music.
A day after the funeral for 9-year-old Astroworld victim Ezra Blount, rapper Travis Scott offered to cover the costs. Blount’s family declined his offer.
In a move more directly applicable to the Astroworld tragedy, Scott will offer mental health resources for young people — “especially in lower-income communities of color” — including a free crisis-care hotline and a peer mental health education program.
And finally, Project Heal will fund the U.S. Conference of Mayors Task Force of Event Safety, bringing together government, public safety, emergency response, healthcare, event management, music and technology personnel to work with Scott to “aggressively focus on new technologies and innovations that offer ways to address the challenges posed by large-scale events.”
“My team and I created Project Heal to take much needed action towards supporting real solutions that make all events the safest spaces they can possibly be,” Scott said.
Scott, one of hip-hop’s biggest stars, has in part built his reputation through his volatile live shows. He has been charged previously with inciting a riot.
“I will always honor the victims of the Astroworld tragedy who remain in my heart forever.”
Scott’s announcement comes several months after Astroworld concertgoers ranging from 9 to 27 years old died from compression asphyxia amid a massive crowd surge during Scott’s headlining set. Shortly after the show, 125 Astroworld victims filed a lawsuit against Scott, Apple, Live Nation and Drake, who also performed at the festival.
In his first interview since the deadly Astroworld music festival, Travis Scott tells Charlamagne Tha God he’s committed to figuring out what happened.
In November, Scott offered to cover funeral expenses for Astroworld victims — a gesture that was rejected by the family of 9-year-old Ezra Blount, the youngest person killed at the festival. Though they believed Scott felt “remorse,” Blount’s loved ones refused to participate in what they perceived as “a photo-op story” for the musician.
“Giving back and creating opportunities for the youth is something I’ve always done and will continue to do as long as I have the chance,” Scott said Tuesday.
“This program will be a catalyst to real change and I can’t wait to introduce the rest of the technology and ideas we’ve been working on. See you all so soon.”
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