Blues singer Lady A has criticised Lady Antebellum for changing their name.
The Nashville band took their name from a house built in the Antebellum architecture style where they took their first band photos.
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However, the word antebellum also has associations with slavery. Its literal meaning is “before the war” but is used to refer to a time before the US Civil War in 1861 when slavery was still legal in the United States and a common part of life there.
Now, it has emerged that Seattle blues artist Anita White already goes by the name Lady A and claims she has done for 20 years.
She told Rolling Stone: “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.”
Lady A also said she wasn’t consulted by the band over the name change.
The singer added: “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 realise that their name had a slave reference to it…. 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.”
A spokesperson for Lady Antebellum told Rolling Stone the band were not aware of White’s use of the name and plan to reach out to her.
In a statement posted to Instagram, yesterday (June 11) the band confirmed they would now go by Lady A and apologised for using their old name for so long. “As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge…inclusive of all,” they wrote.
“We’ve watched and listened more than ever these last few weeks, and 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. Now, blindspots we didn’t even know existed have been revealed.”
They continued to say they had undertaken “much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest Black friends and colleagues” in recent weeks and had decided to change their name. Lady A, they noted, is the nickname their fans had given them “almost from the start”.