Formerly known as Lady Antebellum, country pillars Lady A, explain why it took them a lenghy time to change their band’s name.
Band member Charles Kelley said, “I think the word to me that resonates most this year has been ‘blind-spot.’ We came up with the name thinking about the Antebellum home… It’s so naive now looking back.”
They also took the chance to talk about their continuing dispute with veteran blues singer Anita White, who was already using the name Lady A.
Kelley said, “We’re trying to resolve this issue with Anita and we’re really trying to be a light out there for everybody. And we know it’s going to be tough, it’s a very divisive issue, but it shouldn’t be a divisive issue, it’s just about love.”
The band initially announced the name change in June this year as a response to civil unrest in the wakes of several high-profile police murders of Black Americans. As activists across the nation called for changes in government and business policies to redress the systemic abuse and neglect of Black Americans, the band shared a statement announcing the name change and explaining it in recognizance of the connotations that come along with the word “Antebellum” — namely, slavery and its resultant ill effects on Americans of African descent.
However, they ran into an unexpected complication when it turned out White had been recording under the name for over 20 years — and has the streaming catalog to prove it. The band initially reached out, then sued White over the name in July.
White countersued in September, asking for $5 million to compensate for the loss of her stage name and the cost of rebuilding her brand from the ground up, as well as a $5 million donation to promote racial equality. In a statement, White cited the history of erasure of Black artists in genres like jazz and rock, believing that the former Lady Antebellum only wanted to “look ‘woke’ to their fans.”