Lady Antebellum changed its name — but didn’t check first with the original Lady A
A quick Google search for “Lady A songs” brings up pages and pages of results for the country trio formerly known as Lady Antebellum. That’s a problem for those trying to find the original Lady A — a veteran blues singer who’s been performing under that name for decades.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, 61-year-old Seattle artist Anita White slammed the Grammy-winning group for adopting the new moniker without consulting her first. Lady Antebellum changed its name to Lady A on Thursday in an effort to dissociate itself from the racist history of the pre-Civil War era.
The decision was made as white Americans are having more conversations about racism after the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other victims of racial violence. Many entertainers have used their platforms in recent weeks to support the Black Lives Matter movement as protests continue to take place worldwide.
“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. “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. If it mattered, it would have mattered to them before. It shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to realize that their name had a slave reference to it.
“It’s an opportunity for them to pretend they’re not racist or pretend this means something to them,” she added. “If it did, they would’ve done some research. And I’m not happy about that. You found me on Spotify easily — why couldn’t they?”
She told the magazine that she plans to speak with a lawyer to discuss options regarding her business trademark for Lady A LLC.
Representatives for the country group Lady A did not immediately respond Friday to the Los Angeles Times’ request for comment.
Amid nationwide protests against racism, the country group Lady Antebellum announced that it was dropping a word associated with slavery from its name.
In an open letter to fans on Thursday, the trio explained its decision to rebrand — as well as how it landed on the word “antebellum” in the first place.
“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,” the group wrote in a message posted on social media. “As musicians, it reminded us of all the music born in the South that influenced us …
“But we are regretful and embarrassed to say that we did not take into account the associations that weigh down this word,” the trio continued, acknowledging the central role of slavery during the period.
White, who has written songs about racial injustice and lyrics about Floyd, also criticized the “Need You Now” hitmakers for claiming the same name as a Black performer while speaking out against racism.
Since getting her musical start at church and karaoke nights, White has released multiple albums under the name Lady A. Her latest album, “Lady A: Live in New Orleans,” is scheduled to drop on her birthday, July 18.
“I don’t know if [the new Lady A] are going to give me a cease-and-desist. I don’t know how they’d react. But I’m not about to stop using my name,” she told Rolling Stone. “For them to not even reach out is pure privilege. I’m not going to lay down and let this happen to me. But now the burden of proof is on me to prove that my name is in fact mine, and I don’t even know how much I’ll have to spend to keep it.”
Inside the business of entertainment
The Wide Shot brings you news, analysis and insights on everything from streaming wars to production — and what it all means for the future.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.