Beyoncé Knowles has caused a stir with the release of the latest track from her new album called XO.
For whatever reason, Knowles decided to use a sample in the song of Steven Nesbitt, the NASA mission commentator, describing the tragedy following the crash of the space shuttle Challenger.
During the song Nesbitt can be heard narrating on the 1986 space shuttle disaster: “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction,” he said from Houston, as the shuttle fell to earth claiming the lives of all seven astronauts on board.
The inclusion of Nesbitt’s commentary in the song could have been tasteful, as a kind of tribute to the astronauts perhaps, if it were not for the fact that his words were followed by her singing about being kissed by her lover.
Beyoncé Knowles defended the song to ABC News yesterday: “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.”
Even so, people, including many of Beyoncé’s greatest fans, felt the connection was lost as she sang: “Baby kiss me, before they turn the lights out, your heart is glowing, and I’m crashing into you.”
June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of STS-51L commander Richard “Dick” Scobee, spoke about her reaction to 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.”
Beyoncé said that her: “heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster,” and that: “The songwriters included the audio in tribute to the unselfish work of the Challenger crew with hope that they will never be forgotten.”