A week after Travis Scott performed his first public concert since the Astroworld tragedy, the rapper found himself on an even bigger stage Sunday as he appeared at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards to deliver “Mafia” and an unreleased track, appearing in a heavily censored segment set amid a futuristic icy landscape.
The award show was also the rapper’s first televised performance since a crowd rush at his Astroworld Fest in Houston on Nov. 5, 2021 killed 10 people — and, as a new lawsuit claims, a pregnant woman’s unborn child — and injured nearly 5,000 others. Scott and the festival’s organizers still face dozens of lawsuits from the hundreds of victims.
Scott isn’t the only artist seeking some sort of redemption at the Billboard Music Awards: Morgan Wallen, whose chart-topping rise was temporarily halted due to an N-word scandal, was also invited to take the stage at the Sean “Diddy” Combs-hosted event.
“I am uncanceling the canceled,” Combs said on social media of Scott performing at the BBMAs. “There will be no canceling on my watch. Love is about forgiveness… so that was why it was important for me to have Travis Scott perform… I made a request, I made a demand. I said ‘My brother Travis Scott has to perform. I’m executive producing, he has to perform,’ and NBC said ‘yes.’”
In the six months since the Astroworld Fest, Scott has made small steps back toward the big stage, first making at surprise appearances at private parties before a Miami nightclub performance last weekend. The rapper has also been tapped to headline Primavera Sound’s São Paulo, Brazil fest in 2022, one day after the first anniversary of the Astroworld tragedy.