It’s been a few weeks since rapper Travis Scott hosted Astroworld, a festival at which over ten people died, and approximately 350 people were injured in a crowd crush. Following the event, Scott released a fatuous ‘apology’ video, saying that he “could just never have imagined the severity of the situation”. Except there have been numerous videos posted online by other concertgoers proving that Scott was aware of the ambulances and the crowd crushing. Not only that, but he incited it, calling for the audience to jump up and down during one song.
There have been voices calling for the blame to be placed on the concert organisers and promoters rather than Scott, but this hasn’t stopped bereaved relatives from rightfully suing all three parties for $750 million. What Scott cannot escape from is the responsibility that a performer has to their audience and the individuals in it, no matter its size. When an artist is on stage, they control the space, and all eyes are on them. So when Scott ignored the ambulances in the crowd and dismissed the staff members that came on stage to tell him of the casualties, he allowed people to die.
Harry Styles is currently on tour in America, and he is providing an example of how an artist should behave at live events. This video shows Styles spotting a fan in the crowd who has fainted, and he proceeds to stop the concert and pass her a bottle of water before continuing with the set. Needless to say, this is a world away from what happened at Astroworld, and lives could have been saved if Travis Scott hadn’t been entirely negligent.
My hope is that Travis Scott’s career will, if not end entirely, never recover after this disaster. Even if the claimants win their lawsuit against him, it’s important that we must keep calling him out, as he shouldn’t be allowed to slide back into relevancy again. Add him to the list of examples of when cancel culture is good practice.
Strictly Come Dancing
On a lighter note, the BBC’s celebrity dancing competition show Strictly Come Dancing is in its ninth week of airtime. Before the Strictly naysayers groan at me in disgust, here’s why they should be watching it.
Yes, it’s a cheesy show, but it’s aware of and leans into its cheesiness. It knows that hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly make awful jokes every single episode. We know the contestants more often than not look ridiculous in their outfits (see from this year: TV journalist Dan Walker in a lobster costume). “It’s too cheesy” is the main thing I hear from the scrooges that refuse to watch it, but this isn’t the groundbreaking argument they think it is, and I pity them.
The music is great, and in each episode, there’s guaranteed a song for everyone. Dave Arch’s orchestra can be relied on to bang out everything from 1950s show tunes to current pop songs in the charts. Seeing how the music is incorporated with the choreography and staging is always enjoyable. I can only imagine the amount of effort and planning that goes into each weekly episode.
If you’re an absolute hermit who doesn’t enjoy any kind of music, then the visuals must appeal to you instead. Whenever the shininess and sparkliness of Strictly is on, I can feel the vitamin D radiating off the screen, which is very much needed in the depths of winter.
Yes, no one knows who half of the celebrities are every year, but you get to know them, and they’ll all end up commanding your respect by throwing themselves into dance routines on live TV to an audience of millions. Actress Rose Ayling-Ellis is a standout this year for championing the deaf community with her beautiful routines and introducing British Sign Language to primetime TV. I’d never heard of her before as I don’t watch Eastenders, but now I’m a huge fan. Plus, when you do know the celebrity, it’s great to see them in a completely different context (see: last year’s winner comedian Bill Bailey who charmed everyone with his impressive street dancing).
This year’s Strictly final is on the 18th of December, and it’s not too late to start watching now, as the celebrities have been whittled down to the cream of the crop. In these dark months, everyone needs some joy, and Strictly Come Dancing provides just that.