NASHVILLE, TN (CelebrityAccess) — Lady A, formerly known as Lady Antebellum appears to have created a legal and public relations mess for themselves with their new name change.
The new moniker for the band was announced in June amid ongoing social justice protests sparked by the death of Floyd George at the hands of Minneapolis Police in May.
At the time, the band said they made the decision to change their name in a bid to distance themselves from the slavery era connotations associated with the word antebellum. A noble effort to be sure, but problems arose almost immediately for the country band as it turns out the name Lady A was already in use by another artist.
The original Lady A, a Black Seattle-based blues singer whose real name is Anita White, says she has been using the name Lady A for 20 years.
“This is my life. Lady A is my brand, I’ve used it for over 20 years, and I’m proud of what I’ve done,” White told Rolling Stone in June. “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,” White added. “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?”
While it initially appeared as if the matter might be amicably settled, the group Lady A has now taken the original Lady A to court over the use of the name.
Per Billboard, the band, whose members are Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and David Haywood, decided to take legal action following White’s “attempt to enforce purported trademarks rights in a mark that Plaintiffs have held for more than a decade.”
In the suit, the group claims they have been using the “Lady A” moniker since 2006 and said their use of it went uncontested when they adopted it as an official trademark in 2011.
They also stated that they are not seeking the exclusive use of the name and filed the suit only after White demanded $10 million over the name swap.
In a statement released on Monday, Lady A (The band) said:
“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. 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.
“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. 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. 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.”