Anita White, aka Lady A, is a musician from Seattle who’s released multiple albums over the past 20 years, with her next one, Lady A: Live in New Orleans, slated for July 18. Lady Antebellum is a band (or rather, a dress-up country act) with a Confederate-era moniker, which they’ve performed under despite criticism since 2006. On Thursday, Lady Antebellum changed its name to Lady A—although the A still presumably stood for Antebellum?
Rolling Stone reports that the name Lady A is very much taken by Anita White, who works for Seattle Public Utilities by day. White told the outlet on Friday that Lady Antebellum is “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.”
In a statement to Rolling Stone, a rep for Lady Antebellum said the band was “not aware” of White and that they had “plans to reach out to her.” Could those plans possibly include paying her off? White tells Rolling Stone she doesn’t know “how much I’ll have to spend to keep [Lady A],” considering she is “not about to stop using the name.” According to trademark experts the outlet spoke with, the “burden of proof” is on White to demonstrate that she’s used and performed under Lady A. There seems to be no conceivable scenario in which Lady Antebellum continues with their rebrand and is either sued by White or sues her without escaping the ensuing criticism.
Lady Antellebum’s “Lady A” has meanwhile already taken over Google search results. But White, for her part, is determined to keep her claim over her life’s work. She tells 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.”
In the meantime, you can watch her fantastic rendition of B.B. King’s “Never Make Your Move Too Soon” below.