Updated: Jan. 2, 8:57 a.m.
Originally published: Dec. 30, 12:28 p.m.
LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Beyoncé’s latest studio album, her fifth as a solo artist, has come under fire for sampling audio from the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, which killed all seven astronauts on board.
XO, one of the self-titled album’s 14 tracks, begins with sound from the fateful mission mixed with the song’s opening notes.
The superstar defended the use of the clip in a statement to ABC News on Monday.
Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger 51L Commander Dick Scobee and the Founding Chair of Challenger Center for Space Science Education, had this to say about the song:
“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. Their dedication to education and exploration resulted in the creation of Challenger Center for Space Science Education and because of this we have been able to educate millions of students across America and beyond. We hope everyone remembers the crew for the inspirational legacy they left in the hearts of so many.”
NASA’s press secretary Lauren B. Worley said this in a statement Tuesday:
“The Challenger accident is an important part of our history; a tragic reminder that space exploration is risky and should never be trivialized. NASA works every day to honor the legacy of our fallen astronauts as we carry out our mission to reach for new heights and explore the universe.”
Online reaction to the controversy has been mixed.