In the wake of the security and safety failures at his Houston Astroworld Festival, Travis Scott has announced the creation of Project HEAL — a new event safety initiative backed by a $5 million funding commitment from the rapper focused on a “multi-tier, longterm series of community-focused philanthropy and investment efforts.” A portion of proceeds from Scott’s “upcoming product launches” will also go towards the initiative, according to an announcement on the Project HEAL website.
“Over the past few months I’ve been taking the time and space to grieve, reflect and do my part to heal my community,” Scott 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. 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. I will always honor the victims of the Astroworld tragedy who remain in my heart forever.”
Last November, 10 people were killed and hundreds injured at Astroworld when crowds rushed the stage before the start of Scott’s headlining set. The victims, who ranged in age from 9 years-old to 27 years-old, died as a result of what the Harris County Medical Examiner’s office deemed “compression asphyxia.”
Over 300 lawsuits have been filed in Harris County since the event — the majority of them targeting Scott as well as other groups involved in the festival, such as promoters Live Nation and ScoreMore, venue NRG Park, and various security companies. All have denied the allegations brought forward in the filings, with Scott also requesting he be dismissed from the lawsuits because, according to representatives, the rapper “is not legally liable” for the tragedy.
“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 on Instagram of Project HEAL. “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.”
In partnership with Scott’s Cactus Jack Foundation, Project HEAL will support a variety of initiatives, including: increased funding for Scott’s Waymon Webster Historically Black Colleges and Universities scholarship fund; an expansion of Houston’s CACT.US Youth Design Center; the creation of free mental health resources for low-income and minority youth; and the funding of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Task Force of Event Safety, which will bring together stakeholders from across local governments, health care providers, event management companies, and entertainment corporations to research the safety challenges associated with large-scale events.
“At the conclusion of this research, HEAL, together with the US Conference of Mayors, will assist in the creation of a comprehensive report of recommendations to be presented formally and distributed to key stakeholders for adoption, including every Mayor of every town and city which hosts large-scale events,” the organization’s website explains. “HEAL will work towards advocating that this report serves as the new safety and security blueprint for all festivals and large-scale events.”
Families of Astroworld victims have called upon Scott to take more accountability for the incident. So far, none have publicly commented on the Project HEAL announcement.
From Rolling Stone US