Beyonce Draws Fire for Song Sampling Challenger Disaster Audio

Rob Hoffman/AP

A song on Beyoncé's celebrated new album samples audio from the space shuttle Challenger explosion, and it isn't going over entirely well.

"Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction," were the words NASA officer Steve Nesbitt said as the nation watched the space shuttle Challenger crumple into a fiery mess in 1986. Those words are also on "XO," one of Beyoncé's newest and arguably her best 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'," June Scobee Rodgers, widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee told ABC News. "The moment included in this song is an emotionally difficult one for the Challenger families, colleagues and friends," she added. 

While Beyoncé and her producers thought using Nesbitt's description of a human tragedy fine for pop music consumption, Scobee Rodgers and other Challenger family members believe that the usage of the clip is not unlike sampling something from 9/11. To them, Nesbitt's audio should, for the most part, be untouchable. "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," Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee told ABC.

Read more at The Wire

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
X CLOSE Don't show again

Like us on Facebook