NASA’s Not Too Happy About Beyoncé Using Challenger Audio

beyslidePhoto: Courtesy of YouTube.
Everyone has a "what was I thinking" moment at some point — and as Beyoncé has proven with her new single, "XO," celebs are definitely not immune. Even though Queen B's new self-titled album has won lots of critical praise, the fact that she sampled a six-second clip of audio from the Challenger disaster for "XO" has ruffled plenty of feathers — including those of NASA. (For the '90s kids out there: In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launching, killing the seven people on board, while the country watched on television.)
Many have reacted to Bey’s use of the clip, including June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of the Challenger’s commander, who noted that she found the use of the audio "disappointing." NASA responded to the song, noting that the Challenger accident is “a tragic reminder that space exploration is risky and should never be trivialized.”
Beyoncé defended her choice last week, stating that the song “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.” She concluded in her statement to ABC News: "The songwriters included the audio in tribute to the unselfish work of the Challenger crew with hope that they will never be forgotten."

Our take? In our opinion, this is one opportunity where it would have been better to ask for permission in advance, rather than forgiveness after the fact. Attributing the clip's use to "the songwriters" smacks of passing the buck, for starters, and it's worth noting that this isn't an apology, so much as a defense. And, in light of B's explanation of the song as a missive about losing loved ones, the video — a three-and-a-half minute montage of the singer having a blast at Coney Island — doesn't exactly strike us as contemplative. For now, we're going to give Mrs. Carter a pass and chalk this up to a "what was I thinking" moment, instead of a misguided attempt to generate buzz.

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