- Lady Antebellum announced the band’s rechristening as “Lady A” on Thursday.
- The move was intended to signal solidarity with the Black community and denounce the original band name’s ties to slavery.
- However, there’s already an artist who uses the stage name Lady A: a Black blues singer whose real name is Anita White.
- White has performed and recorded music under the name Lady A for more than 20 years.
- “I’m not about to stop using my name. For [Lady Antebellum] to not even reach out is pure privilege,” she told Rolling Stone. “They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time. If it mattered, it would have mattered to them before.”
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Lady Antebellum announced the band’s rechristening as “Lady A” on Thursday, even though there’s already an artist who uses that stage name.
The original is a 61-year-old Black blues singer, whose real name is Anita White. She has performed and recorded music under the name Lady A for more than 20 years.
White told Rolling Stone that no one on Lady Antebellum’s team, nor any of its three white members – Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood – reached out to her before making the band’s name change official.
“I’m not about to stop using my name. For them to not even reach out is pure privilege,” she said.
When reached by Rolling Stone on Friday, a representative for Lady Antebellum said the band was not aware of the original Lady A and now plans to reach out to her.
“This is my life. Lady A is my brand, I’ve used it for over 20 years, and I’m proud of what I’ve done,” White told Rolling Stone.
it's honestly wild they didn't look this up!!! https://t.co/LdO2RVg0vh
— Puja Patel (@senari) June 12, 2020
“This is too much right now. They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time,” White continued. “If it mattered, it would have mattered to them before. It shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to realise that their name had a slave reference to it.”
In the announcement of the name change on social media, the country-rock trio said their original name was inspired by “the southern ‘antebellum’ style home where we took our first photos.”
“But we are regretful and embarrassed to say that we did not take into account the associations that weigh down this word referring to the period of history before the Civil War, which includes slavery,” the statement reads.
“We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued. Causing pain was never our hearts’ intention, but it doesn’t change the fact that indeed, it did just that. So today, we speak up and make a change. We hope you will dig in and join us.”
Dear fans… pic.twitter.com/7JlcH2NMl6
— Lady A (@ladya) June 11, 2020
As Insider previously reported, the “Antebellum era” is an oft-used historical term that refers to the pre-Civil War South, which had a robust economy thanks to the widespread use of slavery.
Antebellum-style homes typically refer to Southern plantations, where Black people were held captive and forced to work for generations.
On Thursday, the members of Lady Antebellum said they “can make no excuse for our lateness to this realisation.”
“It’s an opportunity for them to pretend they’re not racist or pretend this means something to them,” White told Rolling Stone. “If it did, they would have done some research. And I’m not happy about that. You found me on Spotify easily – why couldn’t they?”
Bob Celestin, a longtime music attorney, also told the magazine that “audience size is irrelevant” when it comes to copyright infringement.
“It’s about who is first to use a name,” Celestin said. “And the question is, does the original Lady A have a trademark registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office? If she does, she can go ahead and sue Lady Antebellum for infringement.”
“If not, she still has a common law trademark and she can still show that she’s been using the name in commerce – records, posters, tour flyers – for a number of years. She is first to use the mark in commerce, so that gives her a superior right to the name.”
According to Rolling Stone, White plans to release a new album, “Lady A: Live in New Orleans,” on her birthday on July 18th.
Her most recent album, 2018’s “Doin’ Fine,” opens with the line: “If anybody asks you about Lady A, honey you tell ’em, ‘She’s doin’ just fine.'”
- Read more:
- Lady Antebellum is taking ‘Antebellum’ out of the band’s name and will now be known as Lady A
- The music industry is finally getting rid of the term ‘urban’ to categorise Black music – but it’s not enough
- People are calling out celebrities for appearing insincere in a PSA vowing to ‘take responsibility’ amid the Black Lives Matter movement
- Justin Bieber acknowledged he has ‘benefited off of black culture’ and vowed to fight ‘racial injustice’
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