After the George Floyd protests, there is no doubt that there is more concern than ever about social justice and racial equality. For many corporations, it doesn’t mean much more than putting out a statement that “Black Lives Matter”, although there are a few exceptions. Nike, for example, announced a $40 million donation to various social justice organizations over the years. Other companies have been forced to face the fact that they have profited off of racist stereotypes for decades, and are taking steps to change that.
There is a country trio by the name of Lady Antebellum, and they suddenly seem to understand that this name won’t really sustain the current political climate. As a result, the trio (all of whom are white), have decided to change their name to “Lady A”. As for the original choice to name the group, the members claim that the decision was “arbitrary”, and that they appreciated the aesthetic of the Antebellum South. For those who are unaware, the Antebellum South is almost synonymous with slavery, and is often referred to as “the plantation era.”
Who Is Lady A?
The country music group is quite successful and has won multiple Grammy Awards. They decided to change their name to “Lady A” in an attempt to rebrand, without knowing that there was a Seattle-based blues singer that has been using the name for decades. The group, who claims to support Black Lives Matter, is now suing a black musician for her own stage name.
On July 8th, the band actually filed a lawsuit against Lady A – otherwise known as Anita White. White believes that the previous negotiations were never actually in good faith, and it appears now as though the group fully intends on using the name. In fact, if you look up Lady Antebellum’s Wikipedia – it is already showing as “Lady A.”
Once it was discovered that a musician was already using the name “Lady A”, the group received a tremendous amount of backlash. According to White, it is clear that the trio understood this, and was doing everything in their power to change the narrative. She states that the group wanted to take a picture with her, and later offered to make a documentary where they offered a “behind the scenes” look at recording a song with her. White felt like the support felt artificial.
Later, White pointed out that the trio claimed the two “could coexist”. She eventually decided to ask for $10 million – claiming that $5 million would be spent to rebrand her career, which had spanned decades, and the other $5 million would be donated to various charities. Lady A wanted the group to be serious about the cause, rather than making empty promises.
What Happens Now?
The band filed the lawsuit once White asked for $10 million, and put out a statement stating that their “sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended.” However, White claims that the group had already broken her trust in June when the trio claimed that both parties would be moving forward known as “Lady A”.
The group is understandably receiving a tremendous amount of backlash. The trio could attempt to rebrand under another name, and it White had nothing to do with the fact that the country group named themselves “Lady Antebellum.” It seems quite ironic that in their attempt to rebrand as a group that supports black lives – they are now suing a black artist for a name that she has been using for years.