FILE PHOTO: The 53rd Annual CMA Awards – Arrivals – Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., November 13, 2019 – Lady Antebellum. REUTERS/Charles Pulliam/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Among the current landscape of racial injustice protests, the country trio formerly known as Lady Antebellum announced that they would now be called Lady A, an old nickname. The name change occurred following acknowledgment of the negative connotations toward the pre-Civil War South associated with “antebellum.” The country group has filed a lawsuit against Anita White, a Black blues singer from Seattle, Washington, who has been performing with the same name ‘Lady A’ since 1987. 

The group shared that they held a Zoom meeting with White and her team, claiming that they would be “moving forward with positive solutions and common ground,” as they learned to coexist, even discussing a potential music collaboration. Now, a few weeks later, the band has spoken out against White after the artist requested a $10 million buyout to rebrand herself, as well as a $5 million donation to the charities of her choice. Ultimately, the group filed a declaratory judgment suit to affirm their ‘Lady A’ trademark from 2010.

The group claims in the lawsuit that they have been using the name ‘Lady A’, prior to the trademark, since 2006-2007. Due to the nature of the lawsuit, the band is not seeking monetary damages but instead looking for a court to validate their trademark so they can co-exist as artists with the same name. White has been vocal in her response to the lawsuit, claiming in multiple interviews that she does not want to “share the brand” and that the lawsuit is an example of white privilege. When asked about the lawsuit, White told Vulture, “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 group has not responded since the statement on their lawsuit. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Anita ‘Lady A’ White Will Not Be Erased – Vulture – 7/9/2020
If you ask Anita White when exactly negotiations between her and the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum over use of the name “Lady A” went sideways, she’ll tell you they were never straight — not even in the beginning. “I think they always knew what they were gonna do,” she saidover the phone, moments after news went wide and far that the band is taking her to court.

A Trademark Attorney Explains Why the Former Lady Antebellum Is Suing Lady A – Slate Magazine – 7/10/2020
In June, the country trio formerly known as Lady Antebellum published a statement saying that they were “regretful and embarrassed” that they had not taken into account the negative associations of the word antebellum and would henceforth be known as Lady A. This change came years after journalists challenged them on their choice of name, but better late than never, right? There was one big problem: A Black blues singer by the name of Anita White had been performing under the name for Lady A for more than 20 years.

Blues Singer Lady A: I Won’t Let Lady Antebellum ‘Erase’ Me by Suing to Take My Name – Breitbart – 7/10/2020
Now that the woke country band Lady Antebellum has changed their name to “Lady A,” they are encroaching on a black blues singer who has already been using the name since 1987. The group — which changed their name to drop the word “Antebellum” over its ties to slavery — has now ironically filed a lawsuit to take the name away from a black singer.

Lady Antebellum, Now Lady A, Files Lawsuit Against Singer Who Goes By Lady A – Daily Caller – 7/10/2020
Lady Antebellum, now known as Lady A, announced Wednesday the band was filing a lawsuit against another woman going by Lady A. The band filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, according to a report published by Billboard. The filing claimed Anita White, who goes by Lady A, attempted to “enforce purported trademarks rights in a mark that Plaintiffs have held for more than a decade.” White is reportedly asking the band for $10 million.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Brittany Packnett on Twitter, 7/10/20: ..and the actual Lady A has been using that name for 20 years. Of course their team googled that. Of course they knowingly took that trademark from right up under a Black woman who lacked their resources.

Alonzo Lerone on Twitter, 7/8/20: I really hope this whole Lady A thing is a blessing in disguise to the blues singer. I hope she gets tons of spins and coins she doesn’t have to fork over to Lady Antebellum. working under that name for over 2 decades, I hope this controversy translates to coins for her pockets

Loni Love on Twitter, 7/10/20: Lady America, Lady A2 or just Lady? Let Anita keep her name Lady A .. your fans will always be there

Hunter Kelly on Twitter, 7/10/20: May I suggest the name Haywood, Kelly & Scott? It worked for Crosby, Still and Nash….

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