Beyonce‘s new single “XO” features an audio sample from Steve Nesbitt, NASA’s public affairs officer back in January of 1986. He can be heard saying: “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction.”
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This was in response to the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger. The shuttle was NASA’s second space vehicle and had successfully finished nine missions before it’s last and fatal mission on Jan. 28, 1986. Structural failure caused the shuttle to break apart just over a minute into its launch. All seven crew members were killed, including Christa McAuliffe, a high school teacher from Concord, NH who was part of the Teacher in Space program.
Keith Cowing of NASAwatch.org called the use of the clip “inappropriate in the extreme” and June Scobee Rodgers, the window of Commander Dick Rodgers, expressed immense disappointment.
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Beyonce issued the following statement in response:
“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.”
Beyonce found some support on Twitter:
If #Beyonce is wrong for that then every person who’s said “Houston, we have a problem” owes us an apology :-/ @IAmBeyondSay @JumpinJackJas
— Kali Hawk (@KaliHawk) December 30, 2013
But not much…
#Beyonce @NASA .Heartless & pure selfish motivation. Exploiting a horrific disaster for her video? Why not the twin towers also? #Challenger
— Katze*Augen (@cre_tique) December 30, 2013
First of all, good for the #Challenger families, holding @Beyonce‘s feet to the fire. SO DISRESPECTFUL to sample that audio.
— Kristen Fitz (@KristenFitzpat1) December 30, 2013
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