Beyonce song XO has caused fury amongst astronauts who have told the singer’s sampling of the failed 1986 Challenger tragedy is in bad taste.
The song opens with two lines uttered by NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt: “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction.”
These words were broadcast less than a minute before it was confirmed that the space shuttle had disintegrated.
At the time the Challenger exploded 73 seconds after take off on January 28, 1986. All seven crew members were instantly killed.
Since releasing her new song, ABC News has reported ‘former and current NASA astronauts, employees and Challenger family members argue that using it in a pop song mocks the crew’s sacrifice and opens fresh wounds.’
Told June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger Space Shuttle Commander Dick Scobee and a founder of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education: ‘We were disappointed to learn that an audio clip from the day we lost our heroic Challenger crew was used in the song XO,’
‘The moment included in this song is an emotionally difficult one for the Challenger families, colleagues and friends,’
‘We have always chosen to focus not on how our loved ones were lost, but rather on how they lived and how their legacy lives on today.’
Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee who now runs the NASAWatch.com website, told: ‘This choice of historic and solemn audio is inappropriate in the extreme.’
Cowing has since asked Beyonce to remove the clip.
Yet it seems Beyonce has no plans to apologize or take off the sampling from her song XO.
In a released statement the singer told the following: ‘The song XO was recorded with the sincerest intention to help heal those who have lost loved ones.’
The singer added the reference should ‘remind us that unexpected things happen,’ so people should ‘love and appreciate every minute that you have with those who mean the most to you.’
Reiterating she told: ‘My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster.’
Her statement ended with: ‘The songwriters included the audio in tribute to the unselfish work of the Challenger crew with hope that they will never be forgotten.’
The song XO – written and produced by Ryean Tedder and Terius Nash, also known as The Dream – is about loving while you can.
Although Beyonce has the right to use any artistic material or merit as she sees fit and let’s face it, we’re a tasteful 27 years away from the tragedy, one has to wonder why the singer in fact did choose the audio in the first place, given what some would argue would be its incongruous nature of a love song, save of course for the extra publicity her producers were betting that the antic would create.
above image found here