Lady A suing blues singer Anita White over their new name

The band formerly known as Lady Antebellum is facing some rightful criticism.
July 9, 2020 12:00 p.m. EST
July 13, 2020 8:32 a.m. EST
When country singers Lady Antebellum changed their name to Lady A in June, the band stated it was a way to drop its association with the Antebellum South—a period of American history that celebrated economic growth as a direct result of slave labour. Unfortunately the group failed to do all of their research, and it wound up deferring to a name that was already in use by Seattle blues singer Anita “Lady A” White.While the band had trademarked the name Lady A since 2010 (using the nickname on social media and to sell merch), the solo artist Lady A has been using it for decades.“They're using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time,” White told Rolling Stone after the band's name-change. "If it mattered, it would have mattered to them before.” A couple days later, both Lady As revealed on Instagram that they had connected and were finding "positive solutions" to their name problem.“Transparent, honest, and authentic conversations were had,” read both IG posts along with a screenshot of the meeting. “We are excited to share we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground. The hurt is turning into hope. More to come.”
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It seems as they spoke too soon though, because band members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelly and David Haywood have now confirmed to E! News that they are suing White in order to keep their name after talks broke down. “Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended,” they 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.”News that the country band is suing a Black blues singer over a name she's used for decades is not sitting well with many, who rightfully pointed out the lawsuit is another move born out of that band’s white privilege. Artist Lady A expressed the same criticism on Instagram after hearing about the suit shortly after it was announced on July 8. “You finally realize your name is racially problematic so you shorten it, but then sue the black woman that has been using that name for 2 decades,” she wrote on her Stories. “That’s some white privilege.” Detractors added that stealing from a Black woman is pretty reminiscent of the band's original name and pointed out the name-change seems more like a transparent attempt to look "woke" rather than a true move toward equality. In its statement to E! News, band Lady A said they aren’t looking for monetary compensation and they don’t want to prevent Anita White from using the name Lady A. According to them, they’re trying to “freely and lawfully” use the name. “When we learned that Ms. White had also been performing under the name Lady A, we had heartfelt discussions with her about how we can all come together and make something special and beautiful out of this moment," they said.[video_embed id='1977788']RELATED: Sasha Exeter, Jessica Mulroney and white privilege [/video_embed]"We never even entertained the idea that she shouldn't also be able to use the name Lady A, and never will—today's action doesn't change that. Instead, we shared our stories, listened to each other, prayed and spent hours on the phone and text writing a song about this experience together," the statement continued. The band added that they're "committed to educating ourselves" and "doing our part to fight for... racial justice."Aside from the Instagram story, White didn’t respond to E!’s request for comment, but she did speak out on the subject recently to Newsday. In mid-June she revealed that any announcements of a mutual understanding were premature, and that to her it signified broken trust. “I received a draft agreement from the Antebellum camp. I'm not happy about [it] yet again after talking in good faith,” she wrote in an email. “Their camp is trying to erase me and I'll have more to say tomorrow. Trust is important and I no longer trust them.”[video_embed id='1991428']BEFORE YOU GO: Breonna Taylor docuseries episode is on the way [/video_embed]

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