Beyonce has been receiving a lot of praise for her most recent album, Beyonce, but one sample in particular is getting her a lot of criticism. The intro to her track ‘XO’- which has already been announced as a radio single- includes a sound clip from the January 1986 Challenger space shuttle flight which ended in disaster when all 7 crew members died after an explosion took the craft down two minutes after takeoff. At the start of the song, a NASA public affairs officer can be heard saying “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction” right before the beat drops. The real world situation of this sentence came when the nation was formally addressed as the shuttle wreckage fell into the ocean. The song was written and produced by The Dream and One Republic’s Ryan Tedder. When made aware of the use of the sample June Rodgers, the Challenger commander’s widow made this statement:
We were disappointed to learn that an audio clip from the day we lost our heroic Challenger crew was used in the song… 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 took to ABC News to respond to critics of the sample and the families of the victims. She said
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.
Can definitely see where Beyonce is coming from with a very relevant message but perhaps the same message could have been relayed without the sound clip. Comment with your thoughts.