7 Astronauts Died, Beyonce Uses Them As Background Noise

A friend passed on this new Beyonce video, XO, to me. I didn’t like the song but what was really jarring is that Beyonce uses the audio from mission control from the Challenger disaster as part of the intro. “Obviously a major malfunction” is what was said minutes after the shuttle exploded, taking the lives of 7 brave people.

I like Beyonce, but it’s kind of distasteful.



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  • Iantuition.

    Oh please.

    The song is about loving while you have the chance – i.e., while you’re still alive. The Challenger audio is used as a vague juxtaposition of lives unexpectedly lost (during what should’ve been a celebratory moment at that), and Beyoncé is old enough to remember it – she was four – so it probably came into her mind at some point during the creative process.

    Nothing to damn see here.

  • http://wetcasements.wordpress.com wetcasements

    Lighten up, Francis.

  • NintendoWii10

    Yet another reason why I consider Beyonce to be extremely overrated.

  • Aaron Litz

    Ugh. Not to sound like too much of a curmudgeon, but just one more reason not to listen to her music.

  • feloniousgrammar

    Three years after the Challenger disaster my mother said, “The most important thing this country needs to do is to heal from the Challenger disaster.” I had to laugh out loud. The country was already over it. How many people die on their way to work each day and how many of them had a chance to travel to space? It was sad, and tragic, and it was part of the price of our space programs. Every one of those astronauts knew that there were risks. To treat their deaths as some sacred cow is to ignore their bravery and the dangers that are inherent in space travel.

    To say that it is tasteless for her to have used that sample, as if she should not be privy to public statements, without even putting into the context of the song, and trying to understand why she used it, is just bitching. You don’t own her or her career or her music. The compulsion to police a successful, talented, hard working black woman can be seen all over the internet. Black women are judged more harshly than any demographic in the country, and it’s shameful.

    • Nick L.

      I don’t understand where owning comes into this. Being critical (even snarkily critical) of this doesn’t amount to censorship or really anything else of substance. Beyonce will continue to sell records and we are allowed to disapprove of her inclusion of this audio track.

      You clearly draw a line before the inclusion of the sandy hook audio in a similar manner. But where exactly is that line? Does it make acceptable any audio of the deaths of persons in semi-dangerous professions? Would audio from firefighters and police in the towers on 9-11 shortly before collapse be used to sell products?

    • Edward Himsel

      If this was a completely unforeseen freak accident I might have been inclined to agree about the first part. However, it was anything but. The engineering team at Morton Thyokol knew that there were serious issues with the rubber O-rings at low temperatures, and a group of engineers led by Roger Boisjoly practically begged the management to postpone the launch due to the extremely low temperatures of the morning of the launch. They even had a teleconference with NASA the night before asking them to postpone, but NASA would simply not listen. Boisjoly was told to take his engineering hat off and put his management hat on. This was anything but a freak tragedy. This was an absolutely sickening lack of understanding of the risks, and an entirely preventable waste of human life.

  • SaveFarris

    There are lots of ways to dredge up memories of epic disasters without having to use that particular audio:

    an ad for the McDLT
    “Live from LA, it’s the Chevy Chase Show!”
    play-by-play from any 4th quarter that involves Tony Romo

    • slapchopped

      You forgot Phil Robertson opening his mouth

  • Ministry of Tooth

    It’s ok to call something distasteful, without having to preface first that you like the person.
    Ex. “I will always support Obama, but he lies a lot”

  • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

    That’s like using a voice sample from one of the 9-11 calls…it’s more than distasteful…it’s downright offensive. She should be ashamed of herself.

    • Nick L.

      Maybe for her next album she can get the audio from Sandy Hook. Ugly cynical greed is all this is.

      • feloniousgrammar

        A mass murderer killing twenty first graders and six adults in no way compares to astronauts dying on the job. Your comparison is sickening and is false equivalency at its worse. To compare a tragic accident in our national space program— which always entailed risk— is to demonize her. Is there any indication that she used that clip to revel in their deaths and dance on their graves?

        Against the backdrop of the blatant and not so blatant racism that has plagued this country since Obama was elected, just how powerful was the Challenger disaster? Seven astronauts dying on their way to space doesn’t even compare to the tragedy of the drowning of New Orleans. The Challenger disaster did not oppress and disenfranchise nearly half of the citizenry, nor did it interfere with women’s reproductive freedom.

        Compared to the Challenger, Republicans are infinitely more disastrous than seven people dying on the job.

        • Aaron Litz

          Where the Hell did that come from?

          That was a pretty overwrought response to a valid statement that it was tasteless of Beyonce to exploit a tragic loss of life in a sappy, insipid love song, (one which set our space program back decades due to its impact) whether the individuals understood the risks involved or not, and how the tasteless exploitation of one tragedy could lead to the exploitation of another. It was a totally valid comparison. Neither Beyonce’s color nor her gender have anything to do with it.

        • Nick L.

          Using human tragedy to sell a product is pretty low; I don’t care what color you are. I cannot speak for the families of those astronauts, but I cannot imagine that the inherent risk of the job is any consolation for the exploitation of such a moment.

          I have no idea where republicans, new orleans, or female reproductive rights enter into this discussion. Black females are just as open to ethical criticism as anyone or else we might as well all go home.