SEATTLE - The country group formerly known as Lady Antebellum is suing a local performer over their name.
In June, the group formerly known as Lady Antebellum announced it would change its name to Lady A. The reason for the change is the ties to slavery that antebellum denotes.
However, Anita White said she's been going by the name, Lady A since the 1980s.
“It’s not right. You can’t take my name from me just because I didn’t trademark it. I’m not as entitled as you are. I’ve worked hard to be Lady A,” said White.
Both Lady A’s were in talks to come to an agreement, but White said she doesn't want to share the name.
“I feel they are entitled and privileged and they want to take something,” she said.
The group is now suing her so they can continue to use the name Lady A. They are not seeking money and don't want to prevent White from using the name.
White said the fight over the name Lady A means more to her than just music.
“It’s time for you to step up, if you’re going to be an ally, or get out of the way. And they need to get out of the way now. They thought I was irrelevant. They thought I was another black person they could walk over and tell me I’m irrelevant. You’ve erased me on social media, but you will not erase me in life, and you will not take my name,” she said.
White said she asked the band for $10 million so she could rebrand her own image, and also put the money back into the community and into organizations like Black Lives Matter.
The Country music group released this statement:
“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.”