Lady Antebellum Is Suing the Original ‘Lady A’ & People Are Livid

It was only a few weeks ago that the artists formerly known as Lady Antebellum decided they would henceforth be known as Lady A. Though the country band had been receiving backlash for their name since their inception, recent events seemed to prompt them to change it. Now, they have chosen to sue Blues artist, Anita White, who has been performing under the stage name Lady A for over 20 years.

Lady Antebellum sues Lady A over name change
Lady Antebellum | NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

But what prompted Lady Antebellum to change their name to begin with? People have always taken issues with the name as it references the Antebellum South. The Antebellum era (also known as the plantation era) was the period of history in the U.S. South where slavery was commonplace, accepted, and celebrated. On June 11, after 14 years, Lady Antebellum chose to change their name to the nickname that fans gave them early on in their career.

Lady Antebellum wasn’t the only group to do a name change

Of course, Lady Antebellum wasn’t the only country band to change their name in light of recent events. After further consideration, The Dixie Chicks announced that from here on out they would be known simply as “The Chicks.” As Dixie is a nickname for the American South, particularly those states who formed the Confederate States of America, The Chicks felt it prudent to drop the first part of their name.

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Dear Fans,⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge…inclusive of all. We’ve watched and listened more than ever these last few weeks, and our hearts have been stirred with conviction, our eyes opened wide to the injustices, inequality and biases Black women and men have always faced and continue to face everyday. Now, blindspots we didn’t even know existed have been revealed.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ After much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest Black friends and colleagues, we have decided to drop the word “antebellum” from our name and move forward as Lady A, the nickname our fans gave us almost from the start.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ When we set out together almost 14 years ago, we named our band after the southern “antebellum” style home where we took our first photos. As musicians, it reminded us of all the music born in the south that influenced us…Southern Rock, Blues, R&B, Gospel and of course Country. 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. 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.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ We feel like we have been Awakened, but this is just one step. There are countless more that need to be taken. We want to do better. We are committed to examining our individual and collective impact and making the necessary changes to practice antiracism. We will continue to educate ourselves, have hard conversations and search the parts of our hearts that need pruning—to grow into better humans, better neighbors. Our next outward step will be a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative through LadyAID. Our prayer is that if we lead by example…with humility, love, empathy and action…we can be better allies to those suffering from spoken and unspoken injustices, while influencing our children & generations to come.

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But, while Lady Antebellum has allegedly committed themselves to making better decisions in the future, they seemed to have committed a major faux pas less than a month after they changed their name. On June 8, 2020, the band released a statement to CBS News stating their intention to sue the original Lady A.

Lady Antebellum announced they’re suing Lady A

“Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended. She and her team have demanded a $10 million payment, so reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that we need to ask a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A, a trademark we have held for many years,” the artists formerly known as Lady Antebellum shared.

The band continued on to share that they would not seek to prevent the Blues singer from using the name Lady A now on in the future. “We never even entertained the idea that she shouldn’t also be able to use the name Lady A, and never will – today’s action doesn’t change that,” the “Need You Now” singers shared.

People express outrage on Twitter and Instagram

But, fans and critics alike were not appeased by Lady Antebellum’s claims. Instead, many people felt outraged by the band suing Lady A. Their social media pages are filled with people expressing their discontent. “How dare y’all sue a Black woman after she’s been using Lady A for years while you changed your name just like a week or two ago? You guys need to do your research beforehand,” one person declared on Instagram.

“Do you all think that changing your name, and then suing a woman that has been using your new name for over 20 years is a good way to demonstrate your progression? This is performative white privilege and YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED! Stop throwing your white power around against the Black community,” another person wrote after finding out about the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum’s lawsuit.

Will the ‘Champagne Night’ singers respond to the backlash?

“Suing a Black artist whose name you adopted as your own. Go back to Lady Antebellum, feels more appropriate since you want to step all over Black people and steal from them,” another outraged Instagram user penned. Clearly, people have not been pleased with the band’s choices as of late. Only time will tell if they respond to the most recent backlash.