Rolling Stone reported on December 30, 2013 that Beyonce has responded to the expressions of outrage that has been sparked by her inclusion of audio from the Challenger disaster in her latest music video, “XO.”
She claimed that her heart “goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster” and that “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." She insisted that the inclusion of the audio was meant as a tribute to those who died in the Challenger disaster.
The space shuttle Challenger was destroyed 72 seconds after liftoff when an O ring on one of the solid rocket boosters leaked and ignited the external fuel tank. Among those killed before the eyes of the world was teacher-in-space Christa McAuliffe.
The offending audio was from then NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt, which ended with the chilling words, “Obviously a major malfunction.”
Whatever the intentions of Beyonce and her music producers, the inclusion of the audio has been taken to be exploitive rather than a tribute. Even after almost 30 years after the death of the death of the Challenger and her crew, the shock of the tragedy still runs raw with the NASA family.
The controversy surrounding the Beyonce video comes on the heels of a similar incident in which a political cartoonist named Michael Rameriz used the image of the Challenger disaster to mock the attempts by the Obama administration to downplay in disastrous rollout of Obamacare.