Country group Lady Antebellum change name to Lady A: “Causing pain was never our hearts’ intention”

"Antebellum" refers to a time before the US Civil War when slavery was still legal in the United States

Country group Lady Antebellum have announced they have changed their name to Lady A.

The Nashville band took their name from a house built in the Antebellum architecture style where they took their first band photos.

However, the word antebellum also has associations with slavery. Its literal meaning is “before the war” but is used to refer to a time before the US Civil War in 1861 when slavery was still legal in the United States and a common part of life there.

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In a statement posted to Instagram, the band confirmed they would now go by Lady A and apologised for using their old name for so long. “As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge…inclusive of all,” they wrote.

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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.

A post shared by Lady A (@ladyantebellum) on

“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 every day. Now, blindspots we didn’t even know existed have been revealed.”

They continued to say they had undertaken “much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest Black friends and colleagues” in recent weeks and had decided to change their name. Lady A, they noted, is the nickname their fans had given them “almost from the start”.

“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,” they explained. “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.”

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The band added that they would continue to “examine our individual and collective impact and making the necessary changes to practice antiracism” moving forward and would be making a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative through their philanthropic foundation LadyAID.

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