The band publicly changed its name due to slavery associations.

Morgan Noll
Jul 09, 2020 @ 12:40 pm

On June 11th, the country trio Lady Antebellum changed its name to "Lady A" to cut the former name's associations to slavery and show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, the band has filed a lawsuit against longtime blues singer Anita "Lady A" White, notably a Black woman, for the rights to the name—and people have been quick to call out the irony in this recent move. So, let's look at everything that led up to this.

A few days after publicly changing its name, the band Lady A posted that it had "connected privately with the artist Lady A" and shared a screenshot of a Zoom call between them. "Transparent, honest, and authentic conversations were had," the band wrote. "We are excited to share we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground. The hurt is turning into hope. More to come." In the current suit, People reports that the band's attorneys claim the two parties had "discussed various forms of cooperation" to "peacefully coexist" during the Zoom call and that the group was drafting an agreement to share the name.

When White, the singer Lady A, received the agreement, she told Newsday she was "not happy" about it.

"Their camp is trying to erase me and I'll have more to say tomorrow. Trust is important and I no longer trust them," she said.

Before connecting with the band over Zoom, the singer tagged the trio in an Instagram post that showed news of its initial name change, writing, "How can you say Black Lives Matter and put your knee on the neck of another Black artist? I'm not mad..I am however not giving up my name, my brand I worked hard for." In another post she wrote to the band, "I am Pacific NW Diva Lady A. There is only one."

After receiving and being unhappy with the drafted agreement, White sought new counsel and, according to the band's suit, ""delivered a draft settlement agreement that included an exorbitant monetary demand." Though a dollar figure wasn't listed in the suit, the band said in a statement that White had asked for $10 million, People reports.

As a response, the band then filed a lawsuit against White to declare rights to the name Lady A. The suit claimed that White’s demands gave "rise to imminent controversy, demonstrating a course of action from which a threat of suit could be inferred based on White’s charge of infringement," the suit read. According to the suit, the band is not asking for money but for rights to continue using the name without infringing on any trademark rights White may hold.

In the filing, the band's counsel said the group has used the name Lady A interchangeably with Lady Antebellum as early as 2006 and applied to register Lady A for entertainment purposes at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2010, receiving no pushback from White at the time. White, however, has been using the stage name for over 20 years now.

Twitter has been calling out the irony in the case, pointing to the issue of white privilege.

To support blues singer Lady A's work, head to her site to check out (and buy!) her music here.