Lady A, Formerly Lady Antebellum, Is Suing Black Blues Singer Lady A

Lady A, formerly known as Lady Antebellum
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Lady A, formerly known as Lady Antebellum
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Lady A, formerly known as Lady Antebellum

Lady Antebellum changed their name to ‘Lady A’ last month because of concerns related to racial injustice in the pre-Civil War south. But that name was already taken by black blues and jazz singer Anita ‘Lady A’ White, who is now being sued by the country group over the trademark.

Lady Antebellum’s sudden name change, which we first reported last month, followed a surge of Black Lives Matter protests and a reexamination of names and brands tied to the oppression of African-Americans. Initially, Lady Antebellum created their name as an homage to the pre-Civil War south, but decided to change the name given the period’s ties to slavery and black oppression (here’s a closer look at why the term ‘antebellum’ is so controversial).

Just one problem: ‘Lady A,’ which was Lady Antebellum’s newly-chosen name, was already taken by a black blues and jazz singer, Anita ‘Lady A’ White. That created an immediate conflict, with White complaining that the platinum-winning country group had stolen her namesake and complicated her career. “This is my life,” the singer flatly stated.

Now, the newly-named Lady A is suing the original Lady A after the parties couldn’t work out an agreement. In a statement, the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum reported that Anita White demanded a $10 million payment for the use of her name. Balking at the price tag, Lady Antebellum’s attorneys have now filed a lawsuit claiming that the band already owns the trademark to ‘Lady A’.

Lady Antebellum — or, the band currently known as ‘Lady A’ – says they’ve actually had a trademark for ‘Lady A’ since 2010.

In their legal filing, the group alleges that White never properly filed a trademark for the use of the name. Therefore, she has no proper claim to it. The contentious litigation doesn’t seek monetary damages. Rather, it aims to protect the country group from any litigation by Anita White, who is likely to sue after being rebuffed on her $10 million demand.

Earlier, Lady Antebellum reported on ‘transparent, honest, and authentic’ discussions with Lady A after the name conflict.  “Transparent, honest, and authentic conversations were had,” the group tweeted, while referencing a happy Zoom screenshot. “We are excited to share that we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground. The hurt is turning into hope. More to come.”

What wasn’t disclosed in that tweet is that White was pressing for a massive payout for the use of the name.  At some point, legal threats were undoubtedly thrown about. Hence, the legal hammer from the reformed Antebellums.

“We are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended,” the group flatly stated today.  “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.”

More as this develops.

9 Responses

  1. Clarence Darrow

    That’s a false headline, Paul, and as a lawyer you should know better. The band didn’t “steal” the name, or even “appropriate” it, as Anita White claims. They had no idea the name was being used by anyone else.

  2. Martin Reingold

    And a lawyer you’re not, obviously. The band had a reasonable amount of due diligence that was required before using the name, which was already taken and previously used in the same industry. They didn’t do that. Your claim is that their ignorance in this case should clear them, and that just isn’t how the law works.

  3. restless94110

    Lady Antebellum should sue themselves for stupidity and cowardice. There was and is nothing racist whatsoever about the word antebellum. Any group that cowers before the mob rule is unworthy of respect. Their art is bankrupt.

    • Bill

      The name relates to the Civil War, a battle brought on mostly by the issues around slavery. So, yes, if you view slavery as something racist (which it is), then the word has connotations. You’re a denier – this comment and many previous ones – probably to just get attention or cause others to react. Sad.

  4. P.R.

    This is a “story”. It isn’t a “report” that outlines the full scope of the topic, but thanks for the additional information.

  5. Ricl

    Lady Antebellum isn’t that big outside of country music. They don’t have 10 mil to throw around. Lady A is asking too much, it’s just a name. Take the money and run, capitalize on the incredible free publicity that will only advance her career. I like both Lady A’s, find a better way to resolve this.

  6. Michelle

    As a woman, I propose Lady Antebellum’s use of the word “Lady” as sexist.

    Antebellum: “occurring or existing before a particular war, especially the American Civil War.”

    Given the context and paying homage to the pre- Civil War era, using the word “lady” is far more offensive than using the word “antebellum”. A lady of the antebellum time period had far less rights and wasn’t treated near as well as men, or near as well as women of today. Antebellum describes a time period, and “Lady Antebellum” describes women of a time period where they didn’t have equal rights. Just because they are trying to change “Antebellum” to just “A”, that doesn’t remove what the A stands for as an initial.

    Until “Lady A” drops the “Lady”, I will refuse to listen to their music.

    • Paul

      Since you’re not a woman, and actually probably the same person who posts as Angelito, Al Jolson, restless and others, you’re a fraud and stupid. I can track your IP address and see the origination is the same for all those comments. Idiot.