Last month, the band Lady Antebellum awoke one morning, took note of the current climate, and decided to change its name to Lady A. Fine. The problem is, that name was already taken by a Black blues singer named Anita White. Rather than going back to the drawing board and finding a new name that isn’t A) just shorthand for “antebellum” or B) already in use, the band has decided its best course of action is to sue Anita White for use of the name. Black Lives Matter indeed!
According to Pitchfork, the band, comprised of all white members, has asked a Nashville court to grant its right to the trademark of the name, saying its not asking for monetary damages or trying to keep White from performing under the name 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,” the group said in a statement. “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 band announced its decision to “change” (read: shorten) its name on June 11, having finally decided that a name tied to the Confederacy wasn’t a good call. On June 12, White told Rolling Stone she was blindsided when she heard the news:
“This is my life. Lady A is my brand, I’ve used it for over 20 years, and I’m proud of what I’ve done.... They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time.... It shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to realize that their name had a slave reference to it.”
In the time since then, both band and singer apparently had some fruitful discussions, which according to the statement, meant they “shared our stories, listened to each other, prayed and spent hours on the phone and text writing a song about this experience together. We felt we had been brought together for a reason and saw this as living out the calling that brought us to make this change in the first place.”
That’s over now, though it seems like all that praying didn’t yield quite the results the band thought it did anyway: On June 16, it put out a statement saying that they had come to an agreement with White. That same day, White told Newsday, that actually, she was not happy with the arrangement.
“Their camp is trying to erase me,” she said. “Trust is important and I no longer trust them.”
The band concludes its statement by writing that it’s “still committed to educating ourselves, our children and doing our part to fight for the racial justice so desperately needed in our country and around the world.” Who...is going to tell them?