Country Chatter

Lady Antebellum sues Lady A after name change

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Last month the country trio Lady Antebellum announced that they would be changing their Civil War-referencing band name to Lady A out of respect after watching the protests that arose in cities across the nation.

Within a day of that announcement, a protest was raised by Lady A, a black woman and blues singer who’s name is Anita White, but has been using the nickname for over 20 years. “This is my life,” she said.

The initial response by both sides was at first, very social. But, when White’s representatives asked for a $10 million dollar settlement, things started to go downhill quickly. Now, the platinum-selling group has filed a lawsuit that seeks no monetary damages, but asks the court to affirm “a trademark we have held for many years.”

The suit sates that the group, originally formed in 2006, started using the nickname “Lady A” almost immediately. The court filing also went on to add that the group was not asking White tyo change her stage name, but seeking to protect itself from further litigation. The group first applied to register “Lady A” for use in music, videos, live performances and merchandise in 2010, the suit says, adding “no oppositions were filed by any person or entity, including White.”

“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, noting that they had all “shared our stories, listened to each other, prayed and spent hours on the phone and text writing a song about this experience together.”

“We hope Anita and the advisers she is now listening to will change their minds about their approach,” the trio added in its statement. “We can do so much more together than in this dispute.”

White has not responded as of yet, but she did tell Billboard that she and the band were “making progress,” even sharing a photo of a video chat she had with the country musicians including the caption, “The hurt is turning into hope. More to come.” But the next day, she told Newsday that she did not trust the group. “Their camp is trying to erase me,” she said.

According to her website, White has been performing blues, soul and funk in the Pacific Northwest for two decades and released her debut recording in 2010. A new album, “Lady A: Live in New Orleans,” is scheduled for release on July 18, her 62nd birthday.

“They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time,” White told Rolling Stone when she first heard about Lady Antebellum’s name change. “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.”

The group formerly known as Lady Antebellum acknowledged on Wednesday that it had more work to do. “We’re 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,” the band said.

 

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