Travis Scott spoke out for the first time since the Astroworld tragedy in an exclusive interview with media mogul Charlamagne Tha God. Scott took the opportunity to break the silence over the incident with Charlamagne on his YouTube channel in an interview that aired on Dec 9.
The interview showed Scott and Charlamagne discussing the tragedy at the Astroworld festival when a crowd rush during Travis’ performance led to the deaths of 10 individuals and the injury of several others that attended the event. The discussion reveals how the weeks following the event were an emotional roller coaster for Scott and all the affected families. Scott, who had a serious expression throughout the interview, spent nearly an hour going over the events that led to the tragic night as Charlamagne listened carefully and displayed a deep sensitivity towards the topic. A seasoned interviewer and veteran of the entertainment industry known for his honesty, Charlamagne asked the questions on everyone’s minds and gave Scott the opportunity to speak openly about what transpired.
Charlamagne opened the floor with a question we were all eager to hear. “Let’s talk about that night, man. When did you find out things got as bad as they did? That’s the question everyone wants to know.”
“Yeah, it wasn’t really until like minutes until the press conference until I figured out like exactly what happened,” Scott began. “You know, even after the show, you’re just kinda hearing things… but I didn’t hear the exact details until minutes before the press conference, but even at that moment, you kinda just like… ‘what?’ Like, you know, you just went through something and it’s just like ‘Wait? What? Hold on…”
Travis went on to add how he was unaware that anything had gone wrong during the concert. Recreating his own perspective for Charlamagne, he spoke about how everything amalgamates into one single stream on stage. You have lights, sounds, pyro, and in-ears alongside music, as well as the band playing. It becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate between an excited crowd and one that may be calling for help.
Charlamagne also questioned Travis about the raging culture prevalent at his concerts.
“You know, raging…Raging has been a part of the culture for your shows. You didn’t on this night, but in the past, you’ve encouraged the type of energy that led to something like this happening,” he said. “Do you think that contributed to the energy of this night?”
Travis, after much thought, replied, saying, “Yeah, nah, I think…you know…it’s something I been working on for a while, of creating these experiences and trying to show experiences happening in a safe environment. As an artist, we trust professionals to make sure that you know, things happen and people leave safely, you know what I’m saying?”
He went on to say: “Raging is just a textbook definition, but in concerts, we’ve grown it to be just the experience of having fun. It’s not about just…‘Oh! Harm!’ It’s about letting go and having fun. Y’know, help others…y’know, love each other. It’s not about, just, y’know, harm…That’s not what it’s all about. The show isn’t just rambunctious for an hour, that’s not what it is.”
Charlamagne also asked the rapper about responsibility for the tragic occurrence at the concert. Although Travis refrained from mentioning anyone by name, he spoke about how an artist’s job was restricted to the creative process. This includes bringing other artists together and creatively producing the show. For the rest of the planning, he said, “You know, we just trust in the professionals to make sure people are taken care of and, you know, leaving safely. I can control what I can on the stage, and the professionals control what they can in the crowd.”
Scott’s facial expression wore a look of pensive mournfulness throughout Charlamagne’s line of questioning. His answers came after long purposeful pauses, especially when he was asked whether he believed he had done everything possible to help in the situation.
“Yes. Everything I physically can, I’m sure, yes,” he replied.
Many people have called out Scott over the Astroworld incident and claimed that the tragedies were preventable. To assist their theories, they have cited Houston police chief Troy Finner’s concerns over the “energy” of the crowd. Upon Charlamagne’s questioning on the matter, Travis was adamant that this was merely an angle brought up by the media.
“Well, I think that’s what the media said, but I think it read more so that [Finner] knew that our crowd was the type of crowd that comes with a heavy crowd, so to communicate with him if we were doing anything outside of the week’s itinerary, you know? That week we were doing a lot of charity stuff before the festival, so you know there’s security at most of the events, you know, but in that statement, I think he was just saying ‘If (you’re) doing anything outside of the itinerary, let me know,’ but it didn’t get to that point.”
The two also spoke about the devastating impact of the incident and the collective grief of the victims’ families. Healing from a tragedy of this scale is a lifelong battle, and people are still hurting from the loss. “You’re a father, you know. God forbid your kids are of age, they’re in a situation like this. Put yourself in those parents’ shoes right now. What would you wanna see come of this situation?” asked Charlamagne.
“I would wanna see people put their heads together. I wanna see people… really figure this out. Not take this lightly, you know, and really act on it, because, you know, that’s one of the main things that’s important. They gotta just act on it, you can’t just be like something that happens and… just roll over. It’s gotta be something that’s taken seriously and addressed seriously and things formed around it… Time and a lotta time and a lotta… You know, thinking power spent on this you know and really fixing you know whatever system it is that needs to be fixed.”
Looking forward, Scott spoke about how he aimed to double up on all kinds of security at events and also use innovative technology solutions to provide a safer environment at concerts. “People come into these festivals with these bands that only scan you in. You have all types of tech now that can track your heart, track your oxygen levels if you feel sick,” he explained. “You can put these things on now if you get lost. There’s all types of ways that the band that only gives you access to entry to the line or to food trucks can save lives… I feel like there is a way.”
The interview ended gracefully by Charlamagne giving Scott a chance to reach out to his fans and send a message to them.
Following the interview, it is clear that Charlamagne is a vital presence in the entertainment space. His ability to bring honesty and compassion to his conversation with Scott is one of the most recent examples of his versatility and integrity as an interviewer. Charlamagne has earned his place in the pantheon of the world’s most influential tv personalities, and rightfully so. For those of you less acquainted with Charlamagne Tha God, aka Lenard McKelvey; the Breakfast Club host has been at the forefront of addressing issues that carry weight for ordinary Americans. His latest venture on Comedy Central, “Tha God’s Honest Truth,” is another attempt at delivering hard truths using deep dives, sketches, and social experiments.