Lady Antebellum Band Members "Connected Privately" with Blues Singer Lady A to Discuss Name Change

Natalie Schumann, Rebecca Norris
Photo credit: Taylor Hill - Getty Images

From Country Living

  • Over the past few weeks, everyday folks, celebrities, and companies have spoken out regarding Black Lives Matter.
  • Most recently, country music group Lady Antebellum announced on Thursday, June 11, that they’re changing their name to "Lady A" due to the connection between the word "Antebellum" and slavery in the U.S.
  • Shortly after their announcement, Black female country-blues artist who also goes by "Lady A" spoke out about the band's name change, prompting a virtual meeting between the two musical acts.

Following the death of George Floyd, people all over the world have been speaking out about how they can better address and change systemic racism in the U.S.

On Thursday, June 11, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum joined the conversation on social media.

After being called out for their name—which, while well-meaning, has negative pre-Civil War connotations—the group took to Instagram to share the changes they’re going to make.

“Dear Fans,⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge… inclusive of all,” the post began. “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."

The group announced that they will be continuing as simply "Lady A," and officially dropping "Antebellum" from their name.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣

“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 post continued.

They went on to explain that when they first named their band almost 14 years ago, they chose the word “antebellum” to serve as a nod to the style of home where they shot their first photos as a group.

“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 said. “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.⁣⁣⁣”

The group concluded their post by acknowledging that this is just the first step in a path that will require many.

“We want to do better,” they wrote. “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."

UPDATE, June 16, 7:40 p.m. ET:

Shortly after the band's announcement, a Black Seattle-based artist who also performs under the name Lady A posted to Instagram when she saw the news. She was upset by the announcement, and spoke to Rolling Stone about her disappointment and frustration: "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."

Lady A, whose real name is Anita White, went on to question whether the band members were serious about their commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. The band's rep said that Lady Antebellum was not aware of Lady A prior to their decision to change their name.

On Monday, June 15, both Lady Antebellum and Lady A posted to their respective Instagram accounts the same screenshot of a video call with each other, as well as two additional attendees. Lady Antebellum's caption read as follows:

Today, we connected privately with the artist Lady A. 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.

We will update this story when the artists share any additional information.

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