Band Changes Name from Lady Antebellum to Lady A, Then Sues Black Singer Who’s Used the Name for Decades

Lady Antebellum changed their name over its connections to the pre-Civil War South

Lady A, formerly known as Lady Antebellum / Getty Images

Nashville-based country band Lady A—formerly known as Lady Antebellum—is suing a black singer for the rights to their new name.

The band changed their name last month after critics claimed the word "antebellum" glamorized the pre-Civil War South and slavery. But Anita White, a blues singer from Seattle, says she’s used the stage name "Lady A" for two decades.

"They’re just changing their name because of the Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time for them," White told Rolling Stone. "If it mattered, it would have mattered to them before. It shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to realize that their name had a slave reference to it."

On Wednesday, Lady A said in a statement that representatives for White demanded the band pay her $10 million. The band then filed a lawsuit, asking the court to protect their rights to a name they claim they’ve held a trademark for since 2011.

White told Rolling Stone she’s held a business trademark for the name "Lady A," and released her first album under that name in 2010—the same year the band first filed to trademark "Lady A."

"I’m not going to lay down and let this happen to me," White said. "But now, the burden of proof is on me to prove that my name is in fact mine, and I don’t even know how much I’ll have to spend to keep it."

In recent weeks, many protesters have called for erasing historical references to the Confederacy, slavery, and slave owners—including removing statues and renaming buildings. After Lady Antebellum announced they were changing their name, the band formerly known as the Dixie Chicks followed, dropping "Dixie" from their name to avoid referencing the Confederacy.