December 30, 2013


Beyonce Responds to "XO" Challenger Audio Sample Controversy

Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage
Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage

Beyonce has responded to critics who labeled her insensitive after sampling audio from the space shuttle Challenger disaster on "XO," a track from her surprise self-titled new album written and produced by The-Dream and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. All seven crew members on board were killed after the shuttle exploded nearly two minutes after takeoff.

The track opens with former NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt when he addressed the nation as space shuttle wreckage fell toward the ocean live on national television in January 1986. "Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction."

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In a statement to ABC News, Beyonce 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."

June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger Commander Dick Scobee, told ABC News, "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."

Do you think Beyonce's Challenger sample crosses the line? Watch her "XO" video below and decide for yourself.