Lady Antebellum changed its name — but didn't check first with the original Lady A
The blues singer Lady A can be seen on the cover of her album "Doin 'Fine". (Dawn Lucrisia-Johnson)
A quick Google search for "Lady A Songs" brings up pages and results pages for the country trio, formerly known as Lady Antebellum. This is a problem for those trying to find the original Lady A - an experienced blues singer who has been performing under this name for decades.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, 61-year-old Seattle artist Anita White struck the Grammy winning group for adopting the new nickname without first consulting her. Lady Antebellum changed her name to Lady A on Thursday to distance herself from the racist history of before the Civil War.
The decision was made because white Americans have had more talks about racism after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other victims of racist violence. Many entertainers have used their platforms to support the Black Lives Matter movement in recent weeks as protests continue to take place worldwide.
"Lady A is my brand, I've been using it for over 20 years and I'm proud of what I've done," White said to Rolling Stone. "That's too much right now. They are using the name because of an incident from Black Lives Matter that is only a moment in time for them. If it had been important, it would have been important to them beforehand. George Floyd would not have needed it need to die to realize that her name had a slave reference to it.
"It is an opportunity for them to pretend that they are not racist or that it means something to them," she added. "If so, they would have investigated. And I'm not happy about that. They found me easily on Spotify - why couldn't they?"
She informed the magazine that she intended to speak to a lawyer to discuss options related to her trademark for Lady A LLC.
Representatives of the Lady A country group did not immediately respond to the Los Angeles Times' request for comment on Friday.
In an open letter to the fans on Thursday, the trio explained their decision to rebrand - and how it came across the word "antebellum".
"When we started out together almost 14 years ago, we named our band after the southern antebellum-style house where we took our first photos," the group wrote in a message posted on social media. "As a musician, it reminded us of all the music that was born in the south and influenced us ...
"But we regret and feel ashamed to say that we have not taken into account the associations that burden this word," continued the trio, recognizing the central role of slavery at that time.
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White, who wrote songs about racial injustices 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 her musical start in church and on karaoke evenings, White has released several albums under the name Lady A. Her last album "Lady A: Live in New Orleans" is due to be released on her birthday, July 18th.
"I don't know if [the new Lady A] will give me an injunction. I don't know how they would react. But I won't stop using my name," she said to Rolling Stone. "It is for her a privilege of not even reaching. I'm not going to lie down and let that happen to me. But now it's up to me to prove that my name is actually my name and I don't even know how much I have to spend to keep him. "
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