The country group formerly known as Lady Antebellum changed their name to Lady A last month, apologizing for “the hurt” caused by their original band moniker due to its association with “the period of history before the Civil War, which includes slavery.”
But a black gospel and blues artist, Anita White–who has used the stage name Lady A for decades–protested over Lady Antebellum’s decision to hijack her brand. Now, the country group is suing White to be sure they can perform as Lady A without her claiming trademark infringement.
What are the details?
The group Lady A, comprised of members Dave Haywood, Hillary Scott, and Charles Kelley, said in a statement Wednesday:
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.
According to the lawsuit obtained by Pitchfork, the band holds federally registered trademarks for the brand names “Lady Antebellum” and “Lady A,” and the group “started using ‘Lady A’ as a source indicator for their goods and services as early as 2006-2007.”
It also noted that “prior to 2020, White did not challenge, in any way, Plaintiffs’ open, obvious, and widespread nationwide and international use of the LADY A mark as a source indicator for Plaintiffs’ recorded, downloadable, and streaming music and videos, Plaintiffs’ lives musical performances, or Plaintiffs’ sale of souvenir merchandise.”
White told KING-TV last month that she holds a business trademark for Lady A LLC, and she was furious about Lady Antebellum’s decision to go by the same name she had used for so many years without asking her first.
“I can’t imagine that they could go on Google and not see me there, you can go on Spotify and see me, go on Amazon and see me,” White said.
She added, “To totally disregard the fact that there is another Lady A out there, or is the Lady A, because I am, and have been for over 30 years, I don’t understand how they would not reach out to me, and say something at least.”
The plaintiffs are not seeking monetary damages in their lawsuit against White, and they are not attempting to prevent White from continuing to perform under the name Lady A.
After the lawsuit was announced on Wednesday, the blues singer Lady A tweeted, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”