Country band Lady Antebellum recently changed their name to Lady A due to the former’s racist connotations, and now they’re suing a Black blues singer who has gone by Lady A for over a decade for using the same name.
In a statement via Billboard, the band alleged that Anita ‘Lady A’ White asked for a $10million payment in order for the band to use the name.
The suit that the band have filed apparently arises from White’s “attempt to enforce purported trademark rights in a mark that Plaintiffs have held for more than a decade.”
The band also revealed that they have had ‘Lady A’ trademarked for “many years”.
The lawsuit does acknowledge that White has been performing and recording music under that name at least since 2010, but has never trademarked it. If she did attempt to trademark it, it must have been after the band had already secured the name.
“Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended,” the band said in the statement.
“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.”
The band also made it clear that they had no problem with White performing under the name as well.
“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,” the band said.
“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.”
In a previous statement to Rolling Stone, White claimed that she has performed under the name for over two decades.
This is my life. Lady A is my brand, I’ve used it for over 20 years, and I’m proud of what I’ve done,” she said.
When it emerged that the band would be changing their name, White asserted that she wasn’t going to stop performing under the name.
“They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time. If it mattered, it would have mattered to them before. It shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to realise that their name had a slave reference to it,” she said.
“I don’t know if [the new Lady A] are going to give me a cease-and-desist. I don’t know how they’d react. But I’m not about to stop using my name.”