Beyoncé Issues Statement After Being Criticized for Sampling 'Challenger' Disaster

Beyoncé Issues Statement After Being Criticized for Sampling 'Challenger' Disaster
Several of the songs on Beyoncé's new self-titled album begin with non-musical sound snippets, including "XO," which opens with a NASA transmission taken from 1986's Challenger space shuttle disaster. This has evidently offended some of the folks associated with the tragedy, who have labelled the sample "insensitive."

The six-second clip features the voice of former NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt, who says, "Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction."

June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger Space Shuttle 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 '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."

Others involved with NASA have also decried the sample, and Beyoncé issued the following statement to ABC: "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."

"XO" was written by Beyoncé along with The-Dream and Ryan Tedder, and produced by those three with the help of Haze Banga and Hit-Boy. Its accompanying music video was directed by Terry Richardson. Watch the clip below.

Challenger launched on January 28, 1986, and broke apart 73 seconds into its flight. All seven crew members died.