Cancel culture for Travis Scott & Astroworld: A New form of digital activism?

Travis Scott performance during the Astroworld (2021)

The concert « Astroworld, » a large event sponsored and produced by the famous rapper Travis Scott, took place in November, and turned out to be one the deadliest U.S concert of 2021, eight people lost their lives and hundreds were injured and hospitalized due to a compression asphyxia.

With an estimated 50,000 people in attendance, the festival’s Friday night crowd was densely packed. When rapper Travis Scott took the stage to begin his performance just after 9 p.m, the audience rushed toward the stage, according to authorities. Because the gathering was so dense, the action had crushed people against one another.

Regardless of how chaotic the situation was at the show, the rapper carried on his performance and didn’t seem to be bothered or concerned with his fan’s situation at all. Eventually, the audience was troubled and kept screaming « STOP THE SHOW », some concertgoers were aware of what was going on throughout the incident and even attempted to alert the crew, but were either ignored or dismissed like the case of Seanna Faith.

This was a statement written by a concertgoer ; Seanna who tried to warn Travis’s crew about one of the victims. she had had attempted to halt the event by going up a platform and requesting that the cameraman intervene, but was turned down. She went under the platform and contacted 911 after being dismissed by the cameraman. she also ran into two men in red medical shirts after making the call and conveyed the scenario to them with the help of two other girls.

Cancel culture:

The next day, Travis issued an apology through his Instagram stories, claiming that it wasn’t neither his fault or his crew’s, he also stated that accidents like these occur often in such big events.

His apologies sparked outrage among the public, and families of the victims as well as other concertgoers, have filed lawsuits accusing concert organizers and Scott himself of failing to ensure the safety of those in attendance. Many of his fans, content creators, and ordinary citizens believe that suing the artist is insufficient, and that it would be unfair in light of the loss, suffering, and danger witnessed at Astroworld

Canceling Travis Scott seemed to satisfy the internet users to a certain extent, but what do we mean exactly by « being canceled » or « the cancel culture » we hear these terms often! This concept was intially created and enhanced by Gen Z, it is a method of publicly demanding accountability or boycotting, the cancel culture is considered as a powerful tool to achieve social justice nowadays, it is a way of tackling some of the massive power imbalances that often exist between public figures with broad platforms and audiences and communities harmed by their statements, actions and behavior, through collective action.

This is exactly what is happening with Travis Scott, the rapper is being canceled from thousands of people following the tragic event. Videos of online communities are going viral, for example, people are either burning his records or throwing his merch in the trash. Travis is a very famous artist and did have several collaborations with brands like Nike or Fortnite and Dior, these brands issued PR statements claiming that they dont no longer support or want to work with the artist again, they are certainly scared of the impact this tragedy can have on their reputation.

His career is facing a rocky path too, festivals like Coachella, Rolling loud, took out the name of Travis Scott from their banners and replaced him with other rappers (thanks to multiple petitions). Scott is dealing with a worldwide backlash and is currently taking some time off the media, though he did express his compassion and empathy in a recent interview towards the victims, he is still receiving additional lawsuits and might not be performing or making appearances any time soon.

What happened with Astroworld & Travis Scott is a great example of how powerful online communities can be, the latter can seek for social justice only through few tweets/videos or comments and can ruin the entire career of a public personnality, this can also be a lesson for artists performing later, that they will be always humbled by the public regardless of how famous/wealthy they could be!





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