In today’s edition of “News Stories That Are Free From News But Still Managed to Get a Lot of People’s Panties Into Wadded Hellfire Bundles,” we have “XO,” the latest single and video from pop superstar Beyoncé, which has caused something of a delayed uproar for using an audio sample from the 1986 Challenger disaster. Was it a dumb and essentially pointless move? Definitely. Was it bad enough to somehow cause further space disasters in the future? Not likely. But still.
“Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction.” These words from NASA’s Steve Nesbitt were used to begin a song that isn’t talking about space shuttles or flight controllers, but about a relationship that’s giving Beyoncé trouble. And not the kind of trouble that explodes a person over the ocean, but one that hurts the heart or some shit. The quality of the song and its inherent (non) value aside, it’s rather baffling that the clip was used in the first place. I’m assuming she and her producers couldn’t get the rights to any 911 calls following school shootings.
June Scobee Rodgers, who founded the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, is the widow of Challenger Space Shuttle Commander Francis “Dick” Scobee. She released a calm and rational statement about the clip, telling ABC News:
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 the 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.
I’d rather not imagine what she was thinking when she first found out about the song.
Former NASA employee and NASAWatch.com site runner Keith Cowing was a little more scathing with his reaction, claiming the “choice of historic and solemn audio is inappropriate in the extreme.” He went on to lay blame in a way I wholeheartedly agree with.
If this was done with full knowledge of the origin of these words then this is simply repugnant. If this was done without due diligence as to the source of the words being sampled, then this is ignorance. Either way Beyoncé owes the families of the crew of Challenger an apology.
Beyoncé, who like most commercial pop stars probably doesn’t have anything to do with the creation of the music she sings on, apologized in a statement given to ABC News.
My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster. The song ‘XO’ was recorded with the sincerest intention to help heal those who have lost loved ones and to remind us that unexpected things happen, so love and appreciate every minute that you have with those who mean the most to you. The songwriters included the audio in tribute to the unselfish work of the Challenger crew with hope that they will never be forgotten.
This from the woman who is seen gallivanting around an amusement park the entire video. Of course, the clip wasn’t put in specifically to piss off any family members of those who perished in the crash. But it’s highly unclear how hearing words that so specifically refer to the destruction of a space shuttle can possibly work as a metaphor for a lost boyfriend. Honestly, I don’t even understand how the lyrics are about a troubled relationship.
I suppose we should all be lucky she didn’t just tell the Challenger crew to put an O-ring on it. Single ladies!