Beyonce has raised the ire of some for the “insensitive” sampling of audio from the space shuttle Challenger disaster in her latest video for single, XO. The Challenger broke apart 73 seconds after liftoff from Kennedy Space Center on January 28, 1986, killing the seven crew members on board.
The track, whose lyrics deal with a broken-down relationship, opens with a six-second clip that features the shaky voice of then-NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt, commentating seconds after the Challenger exploded on live television, US ABC-TV reports via The Daily Telegraph.
“Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction,” says Nesbitt in the chilling clip. The inclusion of the sample has been met with criticism from former and current astronauts, NASA employees, and the surviving family of the Challenger victims.
Critics include June Scobee Rodgers, widow of Challenger Space Shuttle Commander Dick Scobee and a founder of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, as well as Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee who runs NASAWatch.com, who said:
“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.”
According to The Daily Telegraph, Cowing said that he would like to see the clip removed and an apology issued to the Challenger families. “For the words to be used in the video is simply insensitive, at the very least,” retired NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson told ABC News.
Beyonce had previously issued a statement regarding the track, which was written and produced by The Dream duo Ryan Tedder and Terius Nash. Said Beyonce:
“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.”
(Via The Daily Telegraph)
Watch: Beyonce – XO