Op-Ed | Is Everyone Really Welcome at Travis Scott’s ‘Astroworld’?
The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those solely of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of Highsnobiety as a whole.
Psychedelic influences on the latest release from Travis Scott suggest that the name Astroworld refers to some kind of spiritual plane that listeners are transported to, yet the reality is that this album was actually named after a Houston theme park that closed in 2005. In truth, this explanation is far more fitting given the rollercoaster ride that Scott has endured in the days before and after the release of his third full-length record.
It all started when La Flame shared two versions of the album’s cover art, which featured the same shot of a theme park entrance. The main difference was that one depicted a family-friendly version of Astroworld by day while the other explored a more explicit interpretation of the theme park by night. However, it wasn’t long before fans spotted another far more problematic difference between the two, one which would spark controversy in both the hip-hop and LGBTQ communities alike.
In the original nighttime version of the album’s artwork, iconic trans model Amanda Lepore appeared on the left hand side in a provocative pose, but she was then nowhere to be seen in the image that Scott subsequently shared online. RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 winner Aquaria was one of the first to point out this discrepancy, prompting Lepore herself to also question why she had been removed from the final photo that Scott posted.