In early July, the American country music group formerly known as Lady Antebellum announced that they would be dropping the name Antebellum as a response to the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement. They said the change was meant to also be a step towards bringing about inclusivity.
Now they’re being ridiculed for disrupting another Black woman’s art.
Now, as Lady A, the country music band has filed a lawsuit against a Black singer who has performed as Lady A for years.
On Wednesday, the Grammy-winning group raised the brows of many after expressing these sentiments when it was revealed that they had filed a lawsuit in federal court after negotiations with Anita White broke down. According to the Hollywood Reporter, “the band is seeking a ruling that their use of the trademark ‘Lady A’ does not infringe on White’s alleged trademark rights of the same name. The band is not seeking monetary damages.”
The group whose line up includes Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood said last month that they regretted not having taken into consideration how the word antebellum relates to slavery.
White, who has performed as Lady A, complained publicly that the band never reached out to her before making the name change. White is a singer of blues and soul music for years.
The day after the band’s announcement, White who lives in Seattle, told Rolling Stone that she felt blindsided by the news. “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… They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time… It shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to realize that their name had a slave reference to it.”
According to the lawsuit, the band applied for trademarks for the name “Lady A” back in 2010.
The lawsuits says that the trademark, had been submitted for the use of entertainment services and for use on clothing and no oppositions were filed by any person or entity.
“Today 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 in a statement. “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.”
According to Billboard, the band isn’t asking for money in the suit, only a court declaration that they can lawfully use the Lady A trademark as well as that its use of the trademark does not infringe on any rights White may have under state or federal law.