Beyonce Challenger Disaster Audio Sampling for 'XO' Criticized

Image: Beyonce Challenger Disaster Audio Sampling for 'XO' Criticized Beyonce Knowles, left, and a 1986 photo showing the space shuttle Challenger starting to explode.

Tuesday, 31 Dec 2013 12:46 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Beyonce used a six-second audio clip from the NASA Challenger disaster in her new song "XO," drawing criticism a Challenger astronaut's widow.

Challenger exploded after taking off in 1986, killing all seven people on board. A NASA public affairs spokesperson, Steve Nesbitt, was recorded speaking as the horrific explosion happened on live television, and his voice is on the beginning of Beyonce’s song "XO."

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Beyonce told ABC News in a statement that she did not mean any disrespect by using the audio. “My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster,” she said. “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.”

The widow of Challenger Space Shuttle Commander Dick Scobee, June Scobee Rodgers, told ABC, “We were disappointed to learn that an audio clip from the day we lost our heroic Challenger crew was used in the song 'XO.' 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."

Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee, told The Houston Chronicle that he thought the way the song was used the clip was inappropriate.

“If the song was about heroes exploring or something it might be different, but it's about some guy who broke up with some girl," Cowing said.

One retired astronaut, Clayton Anderson, told ABC that the pop singer’s use of the clip is “insensitive,” but also said, “What we do in space just isn't as important to young people today.”

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