Blues Singer Anita 'Lady A' White Countersues Country Trio Lady A
By Blake Taylor
September 16, 2020
Blues singer, Anita White, who has performed under the stage name Lady A for more than 30 years, is countersuing the country trio formerly known as Lady Antebellum over the rights to the name Lady A. According to Rolling Stone, White is seeking unspecified damages and music royalties citing "lost sales, diminished brand identity, and diminution in the value of and goodwill associated with the mark."
The country trio, consisting of Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood, first sued White on July 8, claiming she had demanded $10 million from them and that they needed "to ask a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A."
After the news broke, White told Vulture that the band had rejected several of her other attempts to compromise and that she had hoped to split the $10 million evenly between her rebranding efforts and funding to support other independent Black artists
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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.
The Grammy-winning band first announced their name change on June 11. "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.," the trio wrote in a statement on social media at the time.
At the time, the trio had not yet consulted with White who has been using the name for decades. After White spoke out, they all connected over Zoom, where White says they rejected her attempts to co-exist.
"Five million dollars is nothing, and I’m actually worth more than that, regardless of what they think," White previously told Vulture. "But here we go again with another white person trying to take something from a Black person, even though they say they’re trying to help. If you want to be an advocate or an ally, you help those who you’re oppressing. And that might require you to give up something because I am not going to be erased."
The full lawsuit can be seen here.