‘You don’t go to a concert to die’: South Asian Americans among the dead at Astroworld disaster

‘You don’t go to a concert to die’: South Asian Americans among the dead at Astroworld disaster‘You don’t go to a concert to die’: South Asian Americans among the dead at Astroworld disaster
Myra Khan
November 15, 2021
Pakistani American Danish Baig and Indian American Bharati Shahani are two of the 10 concertgoers who have been confirmed dead due to Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival at NRG Park in Houston.
Tragedy continues: As the Astroworld Festival death toll continues to climb, 10 families are left grieving and demanding justice for their loved ones.
  • On Nov. 5, a crowd rush at rapper Travis Scott’s annual Astroworld Festival occurred while Scott performed, crushing and suffocating many attendees, including several children.
  • Baig, 27, was a district manager at AT&T while Shahani, 22, was an engineering student at Texas A&M University. Shahani was due to graduate in the spring.
  • Baig’s brother, Basil, told WFAA that he died while trying to save his fiancée from the stampede.
  • Basil went on to stress that he hopes the festival’s organizers are held accountable for the deaths and the pain caused to each of their families. “You go to a concert to have fun. You don’t go to a concert to die,” he said.
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  • For Shahani, Astroworld was her first-ever concert. Her mother had originally attempted to dissuade her from attending but relented after seeing how excited her daughter was.
  • She attended with her sister and cousin, but they were separated due to the massive crowd. “For the first time in her life she just wanted to have fun,” her sister, Namrata, stated in a press conference. “And that was taken from her.”
  • Shahani’s family has voiced similar wishes as the Baigs, with Shahani’s father pleading at the press conference, “Please make sure that she gets justice,” The National reported. Shahani’s mother broke down into tears during the conference, wishing only that she could have “her baby back.”
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Repeated behavior: In light of the Astroworld tragedy and Scott’s behavior in the moment, attention has been drawn to his past controversies regarding concert safety.
  • During his 2021 Astroworld performance, Scott continued performing despite members of the audience yelling for him to stop and an ambulance with its lights on arriving at the scene.
  • In 2015, Scott was arrested for disorderly conduct after encouraging fans to riot at Lollapalooza. He was arrested again for similar behavior in 2017 at his concert in Arkansas. Later that year, Scott faced a lawsuit from a fan who was paralyzed after being pushed off of a balcony at one of Scott’s concerts in Manhattan.
  • The most recently confirmed victim of the incident was 9-year-old Ezra Blount, who passed away from his injuries on Sunday, according to The Washington Post. The news has sparked an online discussion criticizing Scott’s consistent marketing to children but lack of concern for their safety at his concerts.
  • There are currently over 100 lawsuits against Scott and his team.
GoFundMe fundraisers for the families of Shahani and Blount have recently been created.
Featured Image via WFAA
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