Country trio Lady A’s name battle with a Seattle-based blues singer has turned nasty with the band suing her for refusing to vacate the moniker.
Anita White, who performs as Lady A, attacked the Need You Now hitmakers, formerly known as Lady Antebellum, for grabbing her name after the trio decided the word ‘Antebellum’ was too closely associated with slavery in America’s southern states, but it appeared the two sides had settled the dispute last month (Jun20).
However, Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott have now filed suit at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, accusing White of attempting to “enforce purported trademarks rights in a mark that Plaintiffs have held for more than a decade”.
Negotiations between the band and the singer broke down after White’s attorney “delivered a draft settlement agreement that included an exorbitant monetary demand”, according to the suit obtained by Billboard.
“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 says in a 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.”
After learning of the trio’s name change a month ago, White told Rolling Stone, “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… They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time… It shouldn’t have taken (police brutality victim) George Floyd to die for them to realise that their name had a slave reference to it.”
Lady A made the name change following renewed discussions about racial injustice and inequality. Antebellum refers to southern culture before the American Civil War, during which many households kept slaves.
“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,” the band wrote. “Now, blind spots we didn’t even known 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.”