With Scott among the defendants on dozens of lawsuits from hundreds of victims seeking billions of dollars, Chuck D wrote that Scott is “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.”
“I cannot believe we’re at the point where I gotta say this out loud: Travis Scott is a performer, an act, not a concert promoter,” Chuck D 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 Public Enemy rapper added, “I’m tired of these corporations shucking their most crucial responsibility. 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.”
While Scott had a history of concert violence, Chuck D wrote that Live Nation should have properly planned better knowing his audience; Rolling Stone reported that ScoreMore, Live Nation’s partner on the Astroworld event, had previously been accused of disorganization and unprofessionalism. Chuck D also wrote that, because of the monopolistic entities that largely run the concert industry, his fellow artists are afraid to speak out.
“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? Live Nation controlled this show,” Chuck D wrote. “They control almost all of the concert venues. Artists ain’t speaking out because these same cats are already bought by these corporations. No one can say a word against them unless they want to be Blacklisted and hurt their careers.”
Despite the pandemic that shut down live music for a year, as Chuck D noted, Live Nation stock is up; it recently reached an all-time high, coincidentally hours before the Astroworld tragedy.
“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,” Chuck D added. “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.”
Read Chuck D’s entire open letter to concert promoters below: