The Black blues singer Lady A has said she won’t allow the country band of the same name – formerly known as Lady Antebellum – to “obliterate me or my career”.
The singer, whose real name is Anita White, has been performing under the moniker for more than 30 years. The band changed their name last month over their original name’s associations with slavery.
The band have since filed a lawsuit against White after she asked them to pay her $10million (£7.9m) in order to use the name. They also revealed that they have had the name Lady A trademarked for “many years”.
In a new statement given to Pitchfork, White said she would not allow the band “to obliterate me and my career so they can look ‘woke’ to their fans.”
“I first heard about Lady Antebellum’s planned name change after they went public on June 11, 2020, at which point I was shocked and taken aback,” she said. “During initial calls with the members of the band, I hoped that we could reach an agreement that left both sides whole. Lady Antebellum understood that their use of ‘Antebellum’ was offensive and that their adoption of Lady A harms me, as I have been using the name professionally for over 30 years.”
She continued to say that, despite this, the band were “not receptive to my proposals for correcting their infringement”. “My fans used to be able to listen to my music on streaming services; now they struggle to find me,” she said. “Due to Lady Antebellum’s massive rebranding efforts, Lady Antebellum has erased me from every platform. Lady Antebellum has used their wealth and influence to intimidate and bully me into submission without offering any real recompense for appropriating my name.”
White went on to accuse the group of “attempting to change the narrative by minimizing my voice and belittling my experience as an artist” and said it was “absurd” that the way they had chosen to show their support to racial equality was “by taking the name of a Black woman”.
“The A in their name stands for Antebellum and always will,” she added. “If they are truly committed to racial equality, why do they want to maintain that association, especially when it means making a public, intentional stand to disregard me and my rights?”
White also confirmed that she had asked them for $10million – $5million to compensate her and $5million to be donated to a relevant charity.
“Their refusal to come to an agreement that would be respectful of my work and my rights, however, has given me the clarity and the drive to not back down,” she concluded. “Black lives, names, experiences, work, art — they all matter.”
The band have yet to respond to White’s latest comments.
In a previous interview, White said she had suggested alternative names to the band, including Lady A The Band. In that instance, she would then change her name to Lady A The Artist. The band declined the suggestion, according to the singer.