Someone Is Mad at Beyoncé, & It Has To Do With the Challenger Explosion
Guys, someone is mad at Beyonce, and it's not just that very vocal part of feminism that keeps fighting with the rest of feminism and doesn't seem to understand that the Mrs. Carter tour was likely named with a tongue-in-cheek smirk. No, the people who are mad at Beyoncé are mad at Beyoncé because of her use of the Challenger explosion in one of her songs — and it's the kind of interruption into your daily Beyoncé worship that really makes you think.
The quibble in question comes from the fact that Beyoncé used a bit of the audio from the Challenger disaster in her song "XO." The song opens with a clip of voiceover from Steve Nesbitt, who served as the voice of NASA during the live television coverage of the failed launch in 1986. As it's sampled in the song, this is what he says: “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction.”
Now there is a post on NASAWatch.com expressing disapproval of Beyoncé's use of the song. The post in question is titled "Beyoncé: Sampling the Sounds Of Tragedy For Pop Music." June Scobee Rogers, who lost her husband in the Challenger explosion, said this about the inclusion of the clip in the song:
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 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.
Beyonce, for her part, has responded with a statement of her own:
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.
The audio clip isn't exactly crucial to the song as a whole, so we'll see how this all shakes out — it is certainly understandable for those affected by the tragedy to be affected by its inclusion. It also, somewhat separate from that, interesting to see Beyoncé — who has so often been the subject of almost blind hero worship — at the center of a controversy.
Perhaps it's even a healthy dose of something society needs (though the Challenger families could obviously do without it). It's like David Wong once said: "Remember, there are two ways to dehumanize someone: by dismissing them, and by idolizing them."