Travis Scott has announced a new initiative called Project HEAL following the November 5 tragedy at the 2021 Astroworld Festival. Billed as a “multi-tier, longterm series of community-focused philanthropy and investment efforts,” the initiative is broken into four categories: a Waymon Webster HBCU scholarship fund, an expansion of the CACT.US Youth Design Center, free mental health resources, and a U.S. Conference of Mayors Task Force of Event Safety. Project HEAL is backed by a multi-million funding commitment from Scott, with a portion of proceeds from his upcoming product launches also going towards the initiative, Billboard reports.
“Over the past few months I’ve been taking the time and space to grieve, reflect, and do my part to heal my community. Most importantly, I want to use my resources and platform moving forward towards actionable change,” Scott wrote on Instagram. “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. 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. 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.”
According to the website for Project HEAL, the US Conference of Mayors Task Force of Event Safety will bring together stakeholders from government, public safety, emergency response, health care, event management, music, and technology departments to research the safety challenges of 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,” it reads. “HEAL will work towards advocating that this report serves as the new safety and security blueprint for all festivals and large-scale events.”
The first night of Astroworld 2021 ended in what authorities referred to as a “mass casualty incident” that left 10 people dead from compression asphyxia and hundreds injured. The incident occurred when the crowd began to rush towards the front of the stage, causing panic and injuries, as Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said during a press conference following the event.
In an interview with Charlamagne tha God that took place days after the incident transpired, Scott said he was not aware that people were being killed as he performed. When asked if he couldn’t differentiate danger from crowd excitement, he responded, “Yeah, of course, everything kind of just sounds the same, and, at the end of the day, you just hear music.”
The rapper, Live Nation, and other entities are facing multiple lawsuits from Astroworld attendees. The House Oversight and Reform Committee launched an investigation into Live Nation over their handling of the festival, too.
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