Beyonce performs in Phoenix as part of her 'Mrs. Carter' tour.
(Photo: Robin Harper, Invision/AP)
(CBS NEWS) -- Even though Beyonce's new
album could top the charts for a third consecutive week, the singer is dealing
with rare backlash. Critics say one of her songs is disrespectful to the
memories of the astronauts killed in the Challenger disaster.
The song, "XO,"
is a catchy, upbeat love tune that on the surface seems anything but
controversial. However, Beyonce included audio from the day the space
shuttle exploded, killing all seven of its crew members.
opened the tenth track of her self titled album with the audio "Flight
controllers here looking very carefully at the situation - Obviously a major
malfunction." The sampled audio is from the NASA announcer who described to the world
what was happening as the challenger exploded on January 28, 1986.
in the song's music video, the pop diva is seen having a good time at New
York's Coney Island amusement park.
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
"I think that a sad part
of this is -- they're making money off of something that was extremely personal
to many, many people," said Clayton Anderson, a retired space shuttle
has said the song was recorded as a reminder that people should appreciate
every minute with their loved ones because unexpected things happen.
a statement, the singer said, "The songwriters included the audio in
tribute to the unselfish work of the Challenger crew with hope that they will
never be forgotten."
However, there are no other references to the space
shuttle in the song or video and instead, Beyonce greets her adoring fans and
teaches them a dance to go with the song.
director, Terry Richardson, said the music video came together organically.
"We went with feeling. We
went with instinct," he said. "It's a beautiful cycle of energy."
Although NASA expressed
disappointment with Beyonce's use of the Challenger audio, the agency's photos,
video and other media are generally not copyrighted, which means they can't
force the singer to remove the controversial clip, even if they wanted to.
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