In case you’ve somehow missed this whole saga, Anita White is a blues singer who, for nearly three decades, has been recording and performing under the name Lady A—the same name that the country music trio formerly known as Lady Antebellum decided to rename themselves in the wake of the George Floyd rebellion (“Antebellum” refers to “the Antebellum South,” as in “before the Civil War, you know, when slavery was legal”).
The band is now taking Lady A to court in Tennessee over their ability to use her name, which is so psychotically anti-Black as to be laughable if the whole situation weren’t so twisted and sick. The one true Lady A spoke at length about her predicament in an interview with Rolling Stone, published on Friday:
I’m being erased. And that is something that this country is good at doing: Erasing Black folks and disenfranchised people they feel do not matter. I think that [the band] thinks I’m irrelevant, and that is a mistake. Just because I don’t have the same amount of fans that they have does not discount the fans I do have. It does not discount the hard work that I put in over all these years. So do I feel like I’m being heard? Not by them, no.
The folks who made the statement that Black lives mattered to them and the reasoning behind changing their name, I don’t want anybody to ever forget that. That is another reason for me to stay in my position and stand up for myself. It’s an insult to me as a musician and as a Black woman that you would say that Black lives matter and that you’d change your name but you didn’t really, and after a year we’re still in the same position.
And when asked what justice would look like for her, Lady A responded:
Real justice would have been very simple for them to just change their name. That would have been simple for both of us. It really doesn’t cost them a dime, doesn’t cost me a dime.
What I ask white allies and what I encourage to think about is “What have you actually done?” You’re upset and want to make a change; change should be very simple for us. All you have to do to make a change is do the right thing by people. We make it so hard. We spend money to research the research that we’ve already researched just to try to get to a decision about something that’s so simple as just doing the right thing.