Written by: Khalif Thompson
Travis Scott has defended his new Project HEAL initiative after facing criticism from the family of the youngest victim of the Astroworld Festival.
The Cactus Jack rapper announced a $5 million charity and safety project on Tuesday (March 8), granting scholarships to HBCU students and mental health services to young people, as well as financing a task force to address safety concerns at large-scale events.
The grandparents of 9-year-old Ezra Blount — one of ten fans killed during the tragic crowd surge in November 2021 — condemned the initiative the next day, calling it a tactic to gain support with potential jurors in the high-profile case.
According to our sources, Tericia Blount, grandmother of Ezra Blount, expressed her feelings toward Scott’s safety initiative which she calls a “PR Stunt”.
“He’s pretty much trying to sway the jurors before they’re even assembled. He’s trying to make himself look good, but it doesn’t look that way to someone with our eyes. What we’re seeing is that he’s done wrong, and now he’s trying to be the good guy and trying to give his own verdict on safety.”
Later that Wednesday, Travis Scott's publicist, Stephanie Rawlings Blake, called Hilliard's accusation of violating a court order when he has done nothing of the kind, "shameful and beyond cynical."
She added, “It is also disappointing that Mr. Hilliard would attack Project HEAL, a series of philanthropic gestures designed to give students and young people a leg up. Project HEAL is a continuation of Travis Scott’s longstanding work, including academic scholarships and creative design programs for underprivileged students.
“Mr. Hilliard’s outburst holds no merit and is just a publicity stunt when the court expressly prohibited the very same actions that Mr. Hillaird has engaged in.”
Travis Scott's attorneys submitted additional documentation on Thursday (March 10) in response to Robert Hilliard's request, supporting his client's ability to "make public statements about his ongoing philanthropic work, even as it relates to public safety."
“It also runs afoul of the First Amendment, which guarantees parties like Mr. Scott the right to speak publicly about important philanthropic work that began long before the Astroworld Festival or… almost immediately afterward,” they wrote in the filing.