June Scobee Rodgers said in a statement posted on NASAWatch.com, “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.”The Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff from Kennedy Space Center on January 28, 1986.
The six-second clip is at the beginning of the song, with NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt saying, “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction.”Beyonce responded, according to News.com.au, “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 song’s lyrics include, “Your love is bright as ever (ever, ever, ever), Even in the shadows (shadows, shadows, shadows), Baby kiss me (kiss me, kiss me, kiss me), Before they turn the lights out (lights out, lights out, lights out), Your heart is glowing (glowing, glowing, glowing), And I'm crashing into you (into you, into you, into you)…”