Beyonce Defends Using NASA Challenger Explosion Audio In New Song XO

Beyonce performs during 'The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour' at Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia on October 31, 2013 Beyonce performs during 'The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour' at Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia on October 31, 2013

Beyonce found herself closing out 2013 fending off a bit of backlash after using an audio sampling from the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion to open her new song “XO.”

However, Beyonce says the use of the 1986 audio clip, in which former NASA officer Steve Nesbitt says, “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction,” was intended as a tribute to the seven astronauts who lost their lives that fateful day.

“My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster,” Beyonce said in a statement released to the media this week. “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.

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“The songwriters included the audio in tribute to the unselfish work of the Challenger crew with hope that they will never be forgotten,” the statement continued.

The superstar released the statement after several friends and family members of the crew who died in the explosion took exception to Beyonce’s use of the audio recording.

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“We were disappointed to learn that an audio clip from the day we lost our heroic Challenger crew was used in the song ‘XO,’ " June Scobee Rodgers – widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee — told Central Florida News 13. “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.”

The song “XO” is part of Beyonce’s new self-titled album.

-- Eric Anderson

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