We call on Beyonce to donate 25% of the proceeds from her new song to the Challenger Learning Center, started and maintained by the families of the fallen astronauts.
Beyonce's new song entitled 'XO' samples a famous audio clip from the tragic space shuttle Challenger accident, in which seven American heroes were killed. This thoughtless gesture has shocked America and reopened an old wound. In addition, such a casual pop culture treatment trivializes what should always be remembered as an extremely painful chapter in American history.
Beyonce, claiming no harm meant, has suggested that the inclusion of the clip was meant to honor the fallen astronauts. While this is ill conceived logic, it indicates that Beyonce is sensitive to the grief of the deceased's families and regrets that her mistake has caused so much harm. However, lip service can only go so far in actually righting a wrong.
It should follow, then, that Beyonce should welcome a way to fix her faux pas and make up to the families. That's why we are calling upon Beyonce to donate 25% of the proceeds earned from the sales, syndication, and performance of the song 'XO' to the Challenger Learning Center.
Started and maintained to this day by the families of the fallen astronauts of the Challenger disaster, the these science centers are the result of the families' collective decision to use the money received in legal retribution from NASA to continue the Challenger seven's mission to explore, educate, and inspire young minds in space and science education. Since 1986, the generous donations of countless supporters has allowed the Challenger Learning Center to establish over 40 locations in the US, United Kingdom, Canada, and South Korea. No small expense, each location is crafted with incredible detail to be a veritable wonderland of science for children to explore.
It is the ultimate example of taking a terrible situation and using it to accomplish something truly beautiful. We call upon Beyonce to live up to her own standards and do the same.
This is not a knock on Beyonce, but rather a way for her to make ammends for the damage done. There's no way to take back what has already occured, but the fallout can be greatly, greatly mitigated through taking action.
For more on the Challenger Learning Centers, please visit their website at: http://www.challenger.org
Why is it nescesary for Beyonce to take action beyond a simple apology? Shouldn't that be enough?
No, and here's why:
Beyonce is an enormously popular artist, and anything she sends out over the airwaves instantly becomes rooted in the minds of the world as the Beyonce 'brand.' Beyonce is one of the rare individuals who has the power to change how people see something simply by associating herself with it. In other words, when Beyonce sings it, it becomes thus.
It would have been really cool if Beyonce had made a song dedicated to the Challenger seven's mission -that indeed would have an enormously positive effect on the nation. However, this is not a song about Challenger, it is a song about a girl and a guy breaking up. The Challenger tragedy was used to elevate that concept, and nothing more. This was not used as an opportunity to honor the Challenger crew.
Unfortunately in this case what matters is the outcome, and the outcome here is that the impact of the Challenger tragedy becomes forever diluted as the public begins to identify with it as being part of a Beyonce song about a girl and a guy breaking up. It's no longer about Challenger; it's about a breakup.
Yikes. Was that analogy planned?
A simple low-profile explaination of the intent of the audio's inclusion will do nothing to mitigate that outcome. Significant sincere effort on Beyonce's part needs to be made in order to have even an iota of a lasting effect on society.
Let's look at a prime example of what happens when we allow ourselves to allude casually to horrendously tragic events:
Hindenburg, a classic audio sample that is emblazoned in history as being a part of the event. However now that that entire generation is gone and there's no one to say "Hey! This was a really traumatizing low point in American history, and we should honor it as a huge loss!" we think it's okay to make asinine allusions like this. Over time, the Hindenburg tragedy gradually became less and less and less impactful as culture distanced it through jokes and gags and other unrelated meanings.
The end result is that no one calls us on it anymore because no one upholds it as something to respect. Instead, we are left with an almost humorous image of an enormous baloon bursting into flames and crashing into a crowd on the ground. Our culture has successfully redefined how we relate to it forever.
Pop culture is one of the single most powerful mediums to both destroy and rebuild accordingly. Beyonce is a master of that craft, and she has the power to set it right if she wants to.