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Space Shuttle Challenger Sample In New Beyonce Song Stirs Controversy

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Beyonce Knowles  (Buda Mendes/Getty Images Entertainment)

Beyonce Knowles (Buda Mendes/Getty Images Entertainment)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Superstar Beyonce is dealing with some backlash over a sample used in one of her new songs.

As CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes reported, the track “XO” features mission control audio from the day the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded and killed all seven people on board.

Critics have called it insensitive.

Watch Beyonce’s Video For “XO” Below:

“Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously, a major malfunction,” the 10th track opens.

The sampled audio is from the NASA announcer who described to the world what was happening as the Challenger exploded on Jan. 28, 1986.

In the song’s music video, the pop star is seen at the Coney Island amusement park, Grymes reported.

The widow of mission commander Dick Scobee issued a strongly worded rebuke, saying “The moment included in this song is an emotionally difficult one for the Challenger families, colleagues and friends.”

NASA added “The Challenger accident is an important part of our history; a tragic reminder that space exploration is risky and should never be trivialized.”

“I think that a sad part of this is they’re making money off of something that was extremely personal to many, many people,” retired space shuttle astronaut Clayton Anderson said.

Beyonce said the song was recorded as a reminder that people should appreciate every minute with their loved ones because unexpected things happen.

In a statement, she said “the songwriters included the audio in tribute to the unselfish work of the challenger crew with hope that they will never be forgotten.”

There are no other references to the space shuttle in the song or video. The video instead shows Beyonce greeting her adoring fans and teaching them a dance to go with the song.

The director said the music video came together organically.

“We went with feeling, we went with instinct. It’s a beautiful cycle of energy,” Terry Richardson said.

But those involved said the sample is offensive.

“To put that audio, that particular audio, in front of a pop video just seemed to be the wrong thing to do,” said Anderson.

Beyonce’s self-titled album could top the charts for a third consecutive week.

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