Oops. Beyonce found herself right smack dab in the middle of controversy for using a sample of the audio from the explosion of 1986 NASA Challenger launch in her song “XO” off of the new Beyonce album.
The single “XO” features a 6-second sample from the live TV broadcast. NASA public affairs office, Steve Nesbitt, can be heard saying, “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction…” After the sample, the song begins.
For a quick history lesson, on January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded mid-air 73 seconds after launching, killing all 7 astronauts aboard. Friends and family of astronauts aboard the failed Challenger flight, as well as many in the NASA community, are calling the use of the audio disrespectful and grossly insensitive.
Beyonce responded to the controversy, issuing an apology. She says of herself and songwriters Ryan Tedder and Terius “The Dream” Nash:
“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.”