Lady A, the country band formerly known as Lady Antebellum is suing blues singer Anita White over the use of name “Lady A.” The band filed the lawsuit asking the court to enforce the trademark that they own on the name on July 8. White has been using this name for almost 20 years while the band claims to have been using it since 2006.

The band’s members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood made a statement that 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.” 

In 2010, Lady Antebellum had applied to use Lady A for entertainment purposes and registered to use it for musical recordings and clothing. All requests were granted. The attorney for the band states White “did not oppose” any of these and “has not sought to cancel and of the LADY A registrations.”

The band had decided to change its name in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody by an officer kneeling on his neck. This is due to the fact that the word Antebellum has racist ties. 

On June 11 the band tweeted, “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. As musicians, it reminded us of all the music born in the south that influenced us…southern rock, blues, R&B, gospel and of course country. 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.”

White who is a black woman responded to the change by telling the Rolling Stone, “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. 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.”

On June 15 the two parties tired to come to an agreement via Zoom.  

Lady Antebellum faced backlash as many criticized their decision to try and take the name from White. Twitter user Karen Hunter wrote, “Let me understand… they changed their name from Lady Antebellum because they didn’t want to associate with the racist past to a name that a BLACK woman in the music biz was already using…now they are suing HER for not wanting to relinquish the name? .”

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