In early November 2021, just over six months ago, ten concertgoers died by crowd crush during Travis Scott’s headlining set at Astroworld. (Eight died on November 5 with two dying days later due to their injuries.) Scott responded with multiple statements in the days after the festival, attempting to absolve himself of guilt. He currently faces a slew of multimillion-dollar lawsuits over the event and has been the subject of much scrutiny. But the rapper has also been slowly making his comeback, even performing at small events and releasing new music. Now he’s set to perform on his biggest stage since the tragedy: the Billboard Music Awards, airing May 15 on NBC. (Also performing? Morgan Wallen, in his first televised performance since saying the N-word on video in February 2021.) The performance may come as a shock to those not closely watching Scott’s post-Astroworld moves, but it’s really the product of a slow, monthslong return to the public eye — one that, like the growing lawsuits, likely won’t stop given that Scott was readying a project before Astroworld. Here’s a timeline of that return.
November 6, 2021: Scott tweets a response to the deaths at Astroworld, writing that he’s “absolutely devastated.” He continues, “I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need.” Later that night, he speaks about the event in an Instagram Story, saying he would “stop the show and get them the help they need” when he saw fans struggling at performances. “I could never imagine the severity of the situation,” he says.
November 8, 2021: Scott offers to cover funeral costs for those who as a result of the Astroworld crowd crush, announcing the move in a press release. He also announces a partnership with online-therapy provider BetterHelp for free therapy for those affected by the concert. Las Vegas hip-hop festival Day N Vegas cancels Scott’s headlining set planned for November 13. “The security and safety of all attending Day N Vegas has been and is always top priority in our festival planning,” the festival says in a statement.
November 15, 2021: Nike postpones the launch of its Air Max 1 x Cactus Jack shoes, a collaboration with Scott, “out of respect for everyone impacted by the tragic events at the Astroworld Festival.” The shoes were originally set to be released December 16. (Nike announced on May 11 that the shoes would come out May 27.)
November 29, 2021: The family of Ezra Blount — at 9 years old, the youngest of Astroworld’s ten victims — tells Rolling Stone they declined Scott’s offer to pay for his funeral. “He must face and hopefully see that he bears some of the responsibility for this tragedy,” the family’s lawyer, Bob Hilliard, says of Scott.
November 30, 2021: Lawyers for the families of four other Astroworld victims tell Rolling Stone they also declined Scott’s offer to pay for their funerals. Tony Buzbee, the attorney for the family of Axel Acosta, calls the offer “bullshit.” “If you gave a shit about these families, you wouldn’t have to put out a press release for everyone to see saying he’s willing to pay for a funeral,” he tells Rolling Stone. Richard Mithoff, representing the family of John Hilgert, says it’s “frankly demeaning and really inappropriate to the magnitude of the tragedy that unfolded.”
December 6, 2021: In his first interview since Astroworld, Scott speaks to Charlamagne Tha God on his YouTube channel. He repeats his claim that he “didn’t hear” fans in distress and stopped performing to check on fans “like a couple times.” He tells Charlamagne that “raging,” or the rowdiness he encourages among his fans, is “just the experience of having fun” and “not about harm.” He adds that he won’t perform again until “we address a lot of safety concerns.”
December 10, 2021: KESQ reports Scott will no longer headline Coachella 2022 after he was previously set to in 2020. A day later, Variety reports that Scott’s agent had been trying to keep him on the lineup with the intent of Coachella being his live return.
December 11, 2021: Scott’s hard seltzer, Cacti, is discontinued by Anheuser-Busch nine months after its launch. “We believe brand fans will understand and respect this decision,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson says in a statement to AdAge.
December 28, 2021: Dior delays a planned Cactus Jack line with Scott, set to be part of its summer 2022 collection. The decision was made “out of respect for everyone affected by the tragic events at Astroworld,” Dior tells WWD. The outlet reports that Scott’s team agreed to the postponement.
February 6, 2022: Scott’s girlfriend, Kylie Jenner, announces the birth of their son (formerly named Wolf) on February 2. TMZ reports on February 22 that their son’s middle name is Jacques, which is Scott’s birth name.
February 10, 2022: Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, posts on Instagram that Scott will be appearing during his Coachella headlining set. (Ye is eventually dropped from the Coachella lineup.)
February 14, 2022: Jenner posts a video to her Instagram Story of her home filled with pink and white roses and a huge pink bear from Scott for Valentine’s Day. A source tells People that she “is very grateful for Travis” and that “he is a romantic guy.”
February 23, 2022: Ye releases four songs from his album Donda 2 to his Stem Player, including “Pablo,” which features Scott and Future.
March 8, 2022: Scott announces Project HEAL, “a multi-tier, long-term series of community-focused philanthropy and investment efforts.” It includes initiatives on event safety, mental-health resources, and scholarships. “I want to use my resources and platform moving forward towards actionable change,” he writes on Instagram. “This will be a lifelong journey for me and my family.” The sparse website promises more information “in 2022.”
March 26, 2022: Scott performs at an Oscars pre-party — his first live appearance since Astroworld. He DJs and raps a short set, per TMZ, at a party in Bel Air attended by Leonardo DiCaprio, Venus Williams, and Serena Williams, among others.
April 17, 2022: Scott DJs a few songs at a Coachella after-party, per TMZ. The event, in La Quinta, California, was associated with the nearby Revolve Festival. A source tells E! News, “People were super-excited to see him.”
April 22, 2022: Scott features on “Hold That Heat,” by the producer Southside, alongside Future. It’s Scott’s first widely available song since Astroworld after “Pablo” was only available via Ye’s Stem Player. Scott also stars in the music video with an alligator on a leash.
April 27, 2022: Primavera Sound Buenos Aires announces Scott as a headliner for its November 12 show. It’s his first announced festival performance since Astroworld.
May 8, 2022: Scott performs a 45-minute set for a sold-out crowd at Miami nightclub E11EVEN. He encourages the crowd to take shots, TMZ reports. Quavo joins Scott for a few songs.
May 9, 2022: The Billboard Music Awards announce Scott will perform May 15, in his first TV appearance since Astroworld. As an executive producer and the host of the show, Diddy says on Instagram that he “made a demand, a request” that Scott perform. Diddy later tells Billboard he’s “un-canceling the canceled” by having Scott perform.
May 20, 2022: Scott drops footwear and apparel from his previously postponed Nike collaboration on his website. His Air Trainer 1s are only available for purchase by raffle, and TMZ reports that more than a million people sign up within 30 minutes. (A wider release on the Nike SNKRS app is still expected on May 27.) “Emotions high,” Scott says in an Instagram Story a few hours after the drop. “Love u guys.”