Say what? This is NOT a good look for the artists formerly known as Lady Antebellum.
Country group Lady A, which dropped the word “Antebellum,” from their name because of the word’s ties to slavery, has filed a lawsuit against a Black singer Anita White who has performed as Lady A for years.
The Grammy-winning vocal group filed the lawsuit on Wednesday in federal court after negotiations with Anita White broke down in recent weeks.
According to the lawsuit, the band is seeking a ruling that their use of the trademark “Lady A” does not infringe on White’s alleged trademark rights of the same name. The band is not seeking monetary damages.
The group made up of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood announced the name change last month, saying they were regretful for not taking into consideration the word antebellum’s associations with slavery.
But White, who has been releasing blues and soul music for years as Lady A, complained publicly that the band never reached out to her before changing their name. Negotiations over the name failed to reach an agreement.
According to the lawsuit, the band applied for trademarks for the name “Lady A” for entertainment services and for use on clothing back in 2010 and no oppositions were filed by any person or entity.
“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,” said the group in a statement.
“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.”
According to the suit, the band’s counsel had prepared a draft agreement including such points as continuing to share the name and supporting White’s musical career.
However, on June 16, 2020 White told Newsday that she was not happy with the agreement and “their camp is trying to erase me…. Trust is important and I no longer trust them.”
White has not responded as of yet to the lawsuit, but she did tweet this yesterday:
Read Lady A’s full statement below:
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. 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. 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. We felt we had been brought together for a reason and saw this as living out the calling that brought us to make this change in the first place. We’re disappointed that we won’t be able to work together with Anita for that greater purpose. We’re still committed to educating ourselves, our children and doing our part to fight for the racial justice so desperately needed in our country and around the world. We’ve only taken the first small steps and will prioritize racial equality as a key pillar of the work of LadyAID, specifically leaning into supporting and empowering our youth. We hope Anita and the advisers she is now listening to will change their minds about their approach. We can do so much more together than in this dispute.”
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