Beyonce Under Fire for Sampling Challenger Disaster in Song (Video)

Beyonce Under Fire for Sampling Challenger Disaster in Song (Video)

Song “XO” features audio from the 1986 tragedy that killed seven astronauts

Beyonce is taking heat from astronauts and family members for sampling audio from the Challenger disaster in a song on her self-titled visual album — prompting a statement from the singer saying the the sample was meant as a “tribute” to the space shuttle crew.

“We were disappointed to learn that an audio clip from the day we lost our heroic Challenger crew was used in the song ‘XO,'” Challenger widow June Scobee Rodgers wrote on space agency watchdog website NASAWatch.com.

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Rodgers’ husband, Dick Scobee, was commander of the shuttle, which disintegrated shortly after launch on Jan. 28, 1986, killing all seven crew members.

Beyonce's “XO” opens with the voice of Steve Nesbit, then public affairs officer for NASA who narrated live television coverage of the failed launch, saying: “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction.”

“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,” Rodgers wrote.

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NASAwatch.com founder Keith Cowing, who formerly worked for the space agency, wrote on the website that he found the use of the clip in poor taste, an unnecessary reminder and exploitation of the tragedy for pop music.

“The song that follows these words about Challenger is certainly catchy – but it has nothing whatsoever to do with Challenger and the sacrifice that their crew made that morning in January 1986,” Cowing wrote.

“Instead, the song has to do with the trivial life event of a girl breaking up with her boyfriend. The music video shows them playing at an amusement park. Having this audio included in such a song serves to mock the severity of the events and loss that these final words represent.”

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Beyonce issued a statement Monday morning, first obtained by ABC News, explaining the choice to add the Challenger audio:

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.

Lyrics of the song include “We don't have forever/Baby daylight's wasting/You better kiss me/Before our time is run out.”

  • randelle

    I don't she was being mean. When i heard the voice, it bought me back to the day our country lost some brave people. May they rest in peace!

    • Jim

      All right, then why this? So many tragedies (carefull, Jim, she maight make so many albums in the future) and she picks this? Why? The song means NOTHING about that horrible explosion. She could have made her own sound effect. She needed to steal (from NASA and/or a broadcast ownership) and exploit? Mean P.R.

  • Jim

    She should use the sound bytes from the War of 1812 so she can sing The Star Spangle Banner, LIVE, than lip sync.

    • Souleymane Abdourahmane Sow

      Actually she sang that live over a pre recorded track. You can actually here the two during the performance. But like every accusation against Beyoncé, it is half baked and half formed before you ran with it.
      /-)

  • Souleymane Abdourahmane Sow

    Other things people could be doing instead of creating a stupid petition for Beyoncé to donate her proceeds from “XO”:
    1) Petition the failing pension system in our county
    2) Hold a drive for warm clothing for the millions of homeless people dying from the bitter cold this season
    3) Think of ways to fix, or get rid of, ObamaCare
    4) Find the cure for AIDS
    5) Aid in the rehabilitation of the victims in the Philippines
    6) Aid in the rehabilitation of the victims in Haiti
    Or
    New Orleans
    Or
    Darfur
    Or do like everyone else does at the beginning of the New Year and take your ass to the gym and work it out.
    Beyoncé meant no disrespect with the audio clip, the audio clip ACTUALLY does tie to the song, and she is not the devil incarnate. And if you think for one second that a petition from a bored housewife in Florida is going matter to Mrs. Carter, you truly got it twisted. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
    #getyoulife
    /-)