Controversy welcomed singer Beyonce's New Year with her song "XO" that used an audio grab from the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle disaster. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officials as well as other critics slammed the 32-year-old singer by stating that the historical event "should never be trivialised" through the new song.
A NASA official describing a major malfunction can be heard in the audio grab for Beyonce's song. The families of the seven crew members that died from the shuttle disaster initially reacted to the inclusion of the audio grab with the space agency releasing a statement afterwards also expressing their opinion on the matter.
"The Challenger accident is an important part of our history; a tragic reminder that space exploration is risky and should never be trivialised," NASA's statement in the News.com.au report. The statement further reads: "NASA works every day to honour the legacy of our fallen astronauts as we carry out our mission to reach for new heights and explore the universe."
The 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle disaster was recorded as the worst in NASA's history where the seven crew members on board tragically died. June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee, expressed disappointment over Beyonce's decision to use the audio grab and described hearing it as "emotionally difficult."
The superstar singer has released a statement amidst the controversy surrounding her "XO" song claiming that her heart "goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster." Beyonce further declared in the statement: "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."
Even though Beyonce expressed that she has a sincere intention for using the audio grab in her new song, critics continue to slam the "Single Ladies" hit-maker. Bridget Johnson, the Washington D.C. editor of PJ Media discussed with Michel Martin via Tell Me More of NPR News that Beyonce was not doing a tribute to the families.
"They certainly didn't know anything about it. So as an artist, yes, she has license to use whatever she wants. But it would've been the courteous thing to do to go to them first," Ms Johnson stated. Maria Teresa Kumar, another critic from Voto Latino, stated that the singer may have released a statement explaining her intentions for the audio grab in her song but failed to straightly apologize to the loved ones of the victims for the hurt that she caused.
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