Remembering Diddy’s Deadly Stampede 30 Years Before Travis Scott’s Astroworld Tragedy

It’s been every week for the reason that tragic events of Travis Scott’s Astroworld concert, the place a frenzied crowd of practically 50,000 individuals surged towards the stage to get a greater view of the rapper, leading to 9 festivalgoers being trampled to loss of life and a nine-year-old boy in a medically-induced coma.

However practically 30 years in the past, the same tragedy occurred at a Harlem basement gymnasium, the place a harmful stampede broke out when an outsized crowd tried to get a glimpse of celebrities at a basketball charity occasion that was organized by a then-small-time promoter going by the identify of Puff Daddy—higher identified at this time as Diddy, or Sean Combs.

By the end of Dec. 28, 1991, nine people were dead and at the least 29 others have been injured after an impatient crowd tried to push their method right into a Metropolis Faculty fitness center to catch the sport, which members of Boyz II Males, Run-DMC, Jodeci, Heavy D, and Large Daddy Kane have been taking part in in.

Thirty years on, Sharmayne Jones, now 50, says she nonetheless feels deeply affected by what transpired that evening, saying she will be able to rely on one hand what number of large-scale occasions she has attended since.

“I nonetheless discover myself traumatized,” she tells The Day by day Beast. “If I am going to a live performance, if I’m not within the first 5 rows, I’m not going. I don’t do giant crowds; I don’t do bigger rooms.”

“Even to this present day, I nonetheless have decrease again ache from that,” she provides. “I didn’t wish to go to the hospital as a result of I used to be identical to, ‘I’m okay, some individuals misplaced their lives—on the finish of the day I’m alive and I’ve my life.’ However that’s positively one thing that I had nightmares for weeks, as a result of the screaming, individuals have been searching for their pals, it was a horror present.”

Jones had turned as much as the Metropolis Faculty campus in Harlem to look at the sport on the fitness center, which had a capability of two,700. Nevertheless, at the least 5,000 individuals had proven up attempting to nab one of many 1,200 tickets that have been being offered on the door for $20, in accordance with a New York Times report.

There had been two traces arrange—one for attendees who had bought tickets upfront and one other for individuals who have been shopping for tickets on the door.

The 2 traces snaked their method into the constructing, resulting in the constructing’s foyer, down a set of stairs to the fitness center within the basement, which was separated from the touchdown by 4 metallic doorways. Nevertheless, just one door remained open for organizers to gather tickets and frisk attendees. The gradual course of was aggravating the group, with small fights erupting as the sport’s 6 p.m. tip-off time approached. When the bleachers have been practically stuffed and the sport nonetheless hadn’t began by 7 p.m., tensions reached a boiling level.

When organizers determined to shut the doorways to the constructing’s entrance, pandemonium erupted, as these outdoors rushed to get in, making a disastrous ripple impact as a sea of individuals shoved their method inside, pushing these in entrance of them by glass home windows, toppling individuals down the stairwell, and inflicting these on the backside of the steps to break down or surge towards the fitness center doorways.

Glasses on the fitness center flooring of the CCNY rap profit which Sean “Puffy” Combs had promoted and the place a whole bunch of rap music followers stampeded after being shut out of a celeb basketball sport. 9 individuals have been crushed to loss of life.

New York Day by day Information Archive through Getty

Jones says she ended up being pushed by a glass windowpane as individuals piled on prime of her, and he or she couldn’t breathe.

“How we survived is, myself and my two pals, we obtained into a toilet stall,” Jones explains. “There have been actually people who have been laying on the bottom and the three of us obtained into a toilet stall, and we hid within the rest room till every thing died down.”

Earlier than leaving for the occasion, Jones says she’d caught a tangerine within the pocket of her leather-based jacket that means to eat it beforehand, however by no means obtained the prospect. “Once we lastly obtained out of there, I reached into my pocket and there was nothing left however the pores and skin of the tangerine,” she recollects. “It stained my beautiful jacket, and I saved that jacket for years, as a reminder.”

In the meantime, down on the backside of the steps, the ticket collector on the fitness center door noticed the chaos starting to interrupt out as individuals tried to battle their method inside. They proceeded to stand up, go contained in the fitness center and shut the door, which may solely be opened outwards.

The gang on the backside of the steps had nowhere to go and have been slammed up in opposition to the doorways by unaware individuals on the prime of the steps, who continued to press ahead. Injured individuals have been strewn about on the backside of the stairwell, being trampled upon, fainting, or each

It took an agonizing quarter-hour earlier than anybody realized what was happening, in accordance with the Washington Post. In actual fact, the sport was nonetheless in full-swing. When the doorways to the fitness center lastly opened, these inside mentioned individuals had been pressed up in opposition to the partitions, “packed in like sardines.”

When the doorways to the fitness center lastly opened, these inside mentioned individuals had been pressed up in opposition to the partitions, “packed in like sardines.”

An announcement came to visit the intercom that three individuals had died and the sport was now cancelled, instructing individuals to depart the world—triggering one other stampede as individuals rushed to depart the fitness center.

“Folks began operating,” attendee Darrell Frederick instructed the Occasions. “Folks have been pushing down different individuals. Folks on the underside have been getting trampled. Folks jumped off the bleachers and crushed them.”

Lynette Delane, then 18, additionally attended the deadly occasion, telling the Occasions in 1991, “A lady was sitting up on my chest. She wasn’t even acutely aware. I simply thank God I’m nonetheless alive. Nobody even cared. They wouldn’t cease pushing.”

Right now, Delane nonetheless feels fortunate to have escaped from that constructing, telling The Day by day Beast that she has managed to press ahead. “I simply assume I’m a really resilient individual,” she says. “And I used to be grateful to have survived that scenario.”

Each Delane and Jones expressed remorse and astonishment that one thing so devastating and preventable may nonetheless have occurred thirty years on from the stampede that they discovered themselves swept up in.

Frequent threads hyperlink the 2 occasions: every was oversold and at capability when individuals surged ahead, there was an absence of safety measures in place, and not enough security guards who were properly trained. And each tragedies resulted in 9 individuals useless.

“They should take these occasions extra severely,” Delane says. “So far as planning, ensuring that you’ve the measures in place to make sure that it doesn’t exceed capability. On the finish of the day, they’re placing individuals’s lives at risk.”

“They need to have protocols in place so one thing like this doesn’t occur once more,” Jones says, including that attending a live performance shouldn’t imply you run the danger of being trampled due to an absence of crowd management.


Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs speaks throughout press convention addressing the tragedy at Penn Plaza.

New York Day by day Information Archive through Getty

In regard to Scott, who thus far has been hit with more than 40 lawsuits and has to defend himself in opposition to a number of earlier examples of him encouraging his followers to bypass safety and leap from balconies, Jones really feel it’s doable for his profession to proceed, however provided that he takes acceptable measures to handle the hurt that he allegedly performed a job in.

She factors to Combs, who on the time was a comparatively unknown rap promoter and is now an influential and revered Grammy-winning artist, producer, and entrepreneur with a internet value of round $800 million.

“It doesn’t take an Einstein to know that younger individuals attending a rap live performance camouflaged as a ‘celeb basketball sport,’ who’ve paid as a lot as $20 a ticket, wouldn’t be very completely satisfied and straightforward to regulate in the event that they have been unable to realize admission to the occasion as a result of it was oversold,” New York state Choose Louis C. Benza wrote in a 1999 resolution that dominated Combs was partly responsible and could be held liable for damages in a civil suit.

Combs has addressed his culpability within the Harlem stampede, saying in 1998, “Metropolis Faculty is one thing I take care of day by day of my life. However the issues that I take care of can on no account measure as much as the ache that the households take care of. I simply pray for the households and pray for the youngsters who misplaced their lives day by day.”

For Scott to make issues proper, past giving ticket refunds, paying for funeral bills, and providing free remedy for these traumatized, Jones believes that he must take some accountability, though she does commend the rapper for providing free therapy, wishing that the service was accessible in 1991.


Christina Brown weeps at press convention outdoors metropolis corridor. Her son Darren Brown died within the CCNY rap profit stampede.

New York Day by day Information Archive through Getty

“I feel he must take possession and possibly must take some sensitivity coaching,” she causes. “If he hasn’t, he must make amends. Clearly, there’s no method he can convey again the people who have misplaced their lives, however he must attempt to attain out to their households and see if there’s one thing that he can do to assist their households.”

However Jones argues that these in attendance at Astroworld additionally want to carry themselves accountable for a way they might have contributed to the disaster, recalling that in the course of the Metropolis Faculty stampede, individuals appeared to solely be involved about themselves.

Delane agrees: “I’m a human being, you’re a human being—if we’re all at an occasion and capability is exceeded, we simply have some courtesy, care, and consideration for different human beings.”

“I feel once you begin at that fundamental degree, that’ll assist decrease the scenario. As people, now we have all of the duty. Have some compassion to your neighbor so issues don’t get so uncontrolled.

“I felt again then, everybody was simply desirous about themselves and what they wished,” she provides. “You recognize, ‘I wish to see this artist, or I wish to be a part of this occasion’ and never contemplating the total image. These are lives, human beings. It’s actual. As soon as one thing like this occurs, you may’t take it again.” | Remembering Diddy’s Lethal Stampede 30 Years Earlier than Travis Scott’s Astroworld Tragedy


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