NASA V. BEYONCE: Is Queen Bey Disrespectful?

Can art ever intersect with tragedy? Is it possible to remind others of a devastating event while simultaneously boasting of beauty? If you’re Beyonce, the answer is yes. Queen Bey released ‘XO,’ which samples a heart-wrenching recording from NASA’s Steve Nesbitt, during the moment of the 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion, where all seven crew members lost their life in the second minute of liftoff. Though I was only 4 years old when this happened, I spoke with someone once who recounted his shock, explaining he was just a child watching beside his classroom peers with excitement as the shuttle ascended, and he vividly remembers the horrific result. NASA predictably pounced on Beyonce, calling her “inappropriate,” and demanding an apology. While this heartbreaking event should be treated with care, kindness, and sensitivity, it still begs my original question. Beyonce brought attention to a tragedy that can incite dialogue for generations of ignorant youngsters. Though one might argue her method was disrespectful, it it possible to gain anything positive from her move?

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