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Seattle blues singer Lady A criticizes Nashville band Lady Antebellum

by Spencer Neidig (2020-06-13)

Crwn-magazine.jpgNashville band Lady Antebellum yesterday announced plans to re-brand themselves 'Lady A' because of the word 'antebellum' and its association to slavery, amid race protests taking place across America. 

However, RollingStone reports that the name 'Lady A' has already been in use for over two decades, by Seattle blues singer Anita White who was tracked down by the publication, and is said to be distressed and emotional over the situation. 

White, 61, who has recorded and released music under the name Lady A professionally for many years, said Friday: 'This is my life. They're using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time.'

Already in use: Lady Antebellum have been called out for 'stealing' the Lady A stage name from black performer Anita White (pictured above) 

The singer has pointed out the irony to Rolling Stone Magazine, that the Grammy-winning country band did not approach her before making the decision, which was said to be in support of racial equality, while taking the title from a black artist.





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The 'antebellum south' refers to the pre-Civil War period in the Southern United States between 1830-1860 when slavery was practiced. It was known as a time of economic growth in the region, largely due to its heavy reliance on slaves.  

The band, made up of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, made the announcement Thursday on their social media, saying they were 'regretful and embarrassed' for not taking into consideration the word's association with slavery.

Awkward: Nashville band Lady Antebellum yesterday announced plans to re-name themselves 'Lady A' because of the word 'antebellum' and its association to slavery 

The publication reports that White began to get distressed when talking about the topic, with her voice breaking, she told them: 'This is too much right now. They're 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.' 

'It's an opportunity for them to pretend they're not racist or pretend this means something to them. If it did, they would've done some research. And I'm not happy about that. You found me on Spotify easily - why couldn't they?'

Not happy: Lady A - real name Anita White - said the band Lady Antebellum had not reached out to her about using the same stage name, despite the fact she could be easily found on Spotify

Claims: A rep for the band has said it was not aware of Lady A and now plans to reach out to the singer

A representative for Lady A / Lady Antebellum told Rolling Stone that the band was not aware of the other artist and now plans to reach out to her. 

Rolling Stone notes that White has long been writing songs about racial injustices, having previously written one track around the death of Trayvon Martin.

She also recently changed some of the lyrics in her song called 'The Truth Is Loud' in response to the unlawful killing of George Floyd.

The 'antebellum period' of the old South describes a time between 1830-1860 when many African-Americans were enslaved by aristocrats

The report hints that a legal dispute could now be on the cards, as Missy Elliott's attorney Bob Celestin told the publication: 'It's about who is first to use a name. Audience size is irrelevant.' 

White says she has a business trademark for Lady A LLC, but is unsure where that leaves her legally, and is going to speak to a lawyer next week.

'I don't know if [the new Lady A] are going to give me a cease-and-desist. I don't know how they'd react. But I'm not about to stop using my name,' she says. 'For them to not even reach out is pure privilege. I'm not going to lay down and let this happen to me.' 

Addressing their fans: The group posted a lengthy caption on Thursday

Taking action: Band members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood have expressed their regret over the name

Changes: In an Instagram post the band said they feel they have been 'awakened' 

 Meanwhile the band, who has used the name since 2006, said they felt compelled to make the change after the past few weeks opened their eyes to 'blindspots we didn't even know existed'.

'After much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest black friends and colleagues, we have decided to drop the word "antebellum" from our name and move forward as Lady A, the nickname our fans gave us almost from the start,' they said.

'When we set out together almost 14 years ago, we named our band after the Southern 'Antebellum' style home where we took our first photos.

In use: Anita White (pictured above) says she has the name 'Lady A' registered as an LLC but is not sure where it leaves her from a legal point of view

'But we are regretful and embarrassed to say that we did not take into account the associations that weigh down this word referring to the period of history before the Civil War, which includes slavery.'

'We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen, or unvalued.' 

Scott, 34, Kelley, 38, and Haywood, 37, all grew up in the south and formed Lady Antebellum in Nashville, Tennessee in 2006. 

They were inducted into the Music City Walk Of Fame in October 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee

In what appeared to be in reference to the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd and the ensuing race protests, the band said they have 'watched and listened more than ever these last few weeks.'

Adding: 'Our hearts have been stirred with conviction, our eyes opened wide to the injustices, inequality and biases black women and men have always faced and continue to face every day.'

The group stated that the change of band name was their way of a commitment to 'practice antiracism.' 

They also addressed the timing of their decision, saying: 'we can make no excuse for our lateness to this realization. What we can do is acknowledge it, turn from it and take action.'

'We will continue to educate ourselves, have hard conversations and search the parts of our hearts that need pruning - to grow into better humans, better neighbors,' they added.

'Our next outward step will be a donation to the equal justice initiative through Ladyaid. Our prayer is that if we lead by example...with humility, love, empathy and action.'

'We can be better allies to those suffering from spoken and unspoken injustices, while influencing our children and generations to come.'


Read more:

Lady Antebellum Is Now 'Lady A.' But So Is a Veteran Blues Singer - Rolling Stone