Beyonce’s decision to include an audio of the January 28, 1986 NASA space shuttle Challenger tragedy in her song XO has angered NASA astronauts and their families.
In the very beginning of Beyonce’s song, you can hear the voice of former NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt saying gravely, ‘Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction’ as millions watched on live television the Challenger craft explode 73 minutes after launch, killing all 7 crew members on board.
Now the families and colleagues of the slain astronauts are furious … and are asking Beyonce to apologize and remove the audio.
‘We were disappointed to learn that an audio clip from the day we lost our heroic Challenger crew was used in the song ‘XO,’ June Scobee Rogers, widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee, told ABC News. ‘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.’
‘For the words to be used in the video is simply insensitive, at the very least,’ said retired NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson.
Kaeith Cowing, a former NASA employee fumed, ‘This choice of historic and solemn audio is inappropriate in the extreme. The choice is little different than taking Walter Cronkite’s words to viewers announcing the death of President Kennedy or 911 calls from the World Trade Center attack and using them for shock value in a pop tune.’
Beyonce has responded to the criticism via a statement to ABC News, insisting that she meant the audio to be as a ‘tribute’:
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.