Lady A recently changed the band’s original moniker Lady Antebellum due to the word’s roots in the Confederacy.
While the decision was heralded for its racial sensitivity during this fraught time, the name change did not go over well with Anita White, a Black blues singer who has been calling herself Lady A for more than 20 years, even recording multiple albums under the name.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, she accused the band of not doing their research before absconding with her name. “You found me on Spotify easily,” she told the RS writer, “why couldn’t they?”
The band members and White reportedly met via Zoom in hopes of hammering out some sort of deal that would allow them to move forward with the new name. However, talks broke down when White reportedly demanded more than the group was willing to pay.
As a result, Lady A are now suing 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. 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,” said the band in a statement to ET Canada.
“It was a stirring in our hearts and reflection on our own blindspots that led us to announce a few weeks ago that we were dropping the word ‘Antebellum’ from our name and moving forward using only the name so many of our fans already knew us by,” the statement continued. “When we learned that Ms. White had also been performing under the name Lady A, we had heartfelt discussions with her about how we can all come together and make something special and beautiful out of this moment.”
In the statement, the band insisted their intent was never to take the name from White.
“We never even entertained the idea that she shouldn’t also be able to use the name Lady A, and never will — today’s action doesn’t change that,” the statement added. “Instead, we 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. We’re disappointed that we won’t be able to work together with Anita for that greater purpose. 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. We’ve only taken the first small steps and will prioritize racial equality as a key pillar of the work of LadyAID, specifically leaning into supporting and empowering our youth. We hope Anita and the advisers she is now listening to will change their minds about their approach. We can do so much more together than in this dispute.”
While White has yet to respond to Lady A’s lawsuit, she previously expressed her dissatisfaction with the terms she was offered after that Zoom meeting, which resulted in the band announcing that a deal had been reached — an announcement she subsequently said was “premature.”
“I received a draft agreement from the Antebellum camp,” the Seattle-based singer, 61, told Newsday. “I’m not happy about [it] yet again after talking in good faith… Their camp is trying to erase me and I’ll have more to say tomorrow. Trust is important and I no longer trust them.”