Trio Lady A Files Lawsuit Against Blues Singer Lady A

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Lady Antebellum sues Lady A for name change
Photo by Tammie Arroyo/AFF-USA.com

Just when we thought things were settled between the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum, now Lady A, and the blues singer Anita White, always known as Lady A.

According to Billboard in an exclusive story, the band Lady A has filed suit in Nashville’s U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.

The suit, according to the outlet, allegedly came on due to an “attempt to enforce purported trademarks rights in a mark that Plaintiffs have held for more than a decade.” It also states that talks between the trio, the solo singer and their attorney’s broke down when “an exorbitant monetary demand” was requested from the Anita White’s side.

[RELATED: Lady Antebellum Removes “Antebellum” From Band Name – “We Are Deeply Sorry For The Hurt This Has Caused”]

“Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended,” the group said in a statement to Billboard. “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 issues all started when Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott decided to change their band name to Lady A as protests for Black Lives Matter were gaining traction. The band remarked that the word Antebellum referred to the period of history before The Civil War, which includes slavery and they didn’t want to cause hurt to anyone.

“⁣⁣⁣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,” they said in part in a statement.⁣⁣⁣

“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,” they added. “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.⁣⁣⁣”

It was then that Anita White, came out and said the band stole the name that she’s been performing under all of her career. And just when we thought things were going to get ugly, the band and Lady A had private talks that seemed to result in positive attitudes.

“Today, we connected privately with the artist Lady A,” the band’s Hilary Scott wrote in the post. ” Transparent, honest, and authentic conversations were had. We are excited to share we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground. The hurt is turning into hope. More to come.”

No further details were given at the time.

[RELATED: Lady A Meets “Privately” With Blues Singer Lady A Following Band Name Change]

In the suit, the group alleges they have used both Lady A and Lady Antebellum since 2006-2007 and that the band applied for a trademark of the name in 2010.

“Prior to 2020, White did not challenge, in any way, Plaintiffs’ open, obvious, and widespread nationwide and international use of the LADY A mark as a source indicator for Plaintiffs’ recorded, downloadable, and streaming music and videos, Plaintiffs’ live musical performances, or Plaintiffs’ sale of souvenir merchandise,” the suit reads.

The exorbitant amount of money came in as the two parties were going back and forth on an agreement and White’s attorney added it into the agreement. Lady A, the band, is not asking for money, just the use of the name.

Lady A shared their full statement with Billboard: 

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.”