Lady A Promise Resolution in Name Change Debacle

"We are excited to share we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground."

Written by Chris Parton
Lady A Promise Resolution in Name Change Debacle
Lady A; Photo credit: Dove Shore

After officially changing their name to “Lady A” last week, the members of the former Lady Antebellum trio now say they’ve reached an agreement with the original Lady A, a blues singer based in Seattle.

The band announced the name change Thursday (June 11) as racial disparity protests swept the nation following the death of George Floyd, seeking to distance themselves from the slave-holding, pre-Civil War connotations of thew word “Antebellum.” Charles Kelly, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood explained in a series of social media posts that they chose the name years ago based on the old-style mansion where they took some of their first band photos, but now understood the hurt that word held.

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Dear Fans,⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge…inclusive of all. We’ve watched and listened more than ever these last few weeks, and our hearts have been stirred with conviction, our eyes opened wide to the injustices, inequality and biases Black women and men have always faced and continue to face everyday. Now, blindspots we didn’t even know existed have been revealed.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ After much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest Black friends and colleagues, we have decided to drop the word “antebellum” from our name and move forward as Lady A, the nickname our fans gave us almost from the start.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ When we set out together almost 14 years ago, we named our band after the southern “antebellum” style home where we took our first photos. As musicians, it reminded us of all the music born in the south that influenced us…Southern Rock, Blues, R&B, Gospel and of course Country. But we are regretful and embarrassed to say that we did not take into account the associations that weigh down this word referring to the period of history before The Civil War, which includes slavery. We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued. Causing pain was never our hearts’ intention, but it doesn’t change the fact that indeed, it did just that. So today, we speak up and make a change. We hope you will dig in and join us.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ We feel like we have been Awakened, but this is just one step. There are countless more that need to be taken. We want to do better. We are committed to examining our individual and collective impact and making the necessary changes to practice antiracism. We will continue to educate ourselves, have hard conversations and search the parts of our hearts that need pruning—to grow into better humans, better neighbors. Our next outward step will be a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative through LadyAID. Our prayer is that if we lead by example…with humility, love, empathy and action…we can be better allies to those suffering from spoken and unspoken injustices, while influencing our children & generations to come.

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Then on Friday, singer Anita White (a black artist who has used the name “Lady A” for 20 years and even has an album set for release this year), revealed that she had not been contacted by the band or anyone from their team before the announcement was made. “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,” White wrote.

But now, the new Lady A say they’ve connected with the original Lady A, and that an agreement has been made. Posting a screen shot of a video call which included both parties — plus John Oliver III and blues guitarist Dexter Allen — the band say they’ve had “Transparent, honest, and authentic conversations,” and promise to make another announcement soon. And for her part, White tells USA Today that Scott made a personal apology, and that “I accept that apology, now we are turning hurt into hope.”