The country-pop trio, formerly known as Lady Antebellum, changed their band name to Lady A on Thursday to avoid having black people mad at them for any associations “to the period of history before the Civil War, which includes slavery.”
However, only hours later after changing their name, one black woman was furious with the band. She was not angry over the Lady Antebellum moniker, but rather because they changed their name to “Lady A.”
Anita White is a Seattle-based blues singer who has been performing for more than 30 years. White, 61, started out as a gospel singer at her church and as a karaoke singer. She has since released three albums and two EPs, according to Rolling Stone. White’s stage name is Lady A, and she is not happy that there is another music talent with the same name.
On Thursday afternoon, Lady A found out that Lady Antebellum had changed their name to Lady A from phone calls from friends and Facebook messages.
“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. “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.”
White gave an interview to KING-TV about the situation.
“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. “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.”
“I’m not giving up my name, I’ve worked too hard for it, it’s my brand, people know me by that name,” White said. “They knew that ‘antebellum’ had a racist connotation to it from the beginning, and maybe they didn’t, maybe they’re truthful in what they say.
“But in today’s climate, I don’t understand how you will justify saying that your name has a racial connotation and you apologize to the black community, and yet you take another black artist’s name with no regard,” White said. “It upsets me.”
When White was asked how she feels about the situation, she said, “‘Now it feels like another neck, another knee on my neck,’ as Reverend Al Sharpton said. Take your knee off our neck.”
White was comparing her experience of a music group changing its performance name to the same one that she uses and equating it to the death of George Floyd, where former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
“And every time it seems that a white person does not respect a black person’s space, it brings up emotion,” White explained.
White said she holds a business trademark for Lady A LLC, and is going to speak with her lawyer next week to discuss her legal options.
“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,” White says. “For them to not even reach out is pure privilege. I’m not going to lay down and let this happen to me. But now the burden of proof is on me to prove that my name is in fact mine, and I don’t even know how much I’ll have to spend to keep it.”
A rep for Lady Antebellum, which consists of group members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood, said the band was not aware of Angela White and planned to reach out to the singer.
Seattle blues singer Lady A reacts to Lady Antebellum name change – New Day NW