Nashville country music trio Lady A – formerly Lady Antebellum – have filed a suit against blues singer Anita ‘Lady A’ White in an attempt to trademark the band name.
The band are asking for a court declaration that the trio is lawfully using the Lady A trademark and that using the trademark does not infringe on any rights White may have under state or federal law.
Last month, the band announced they were changing their name to Lady A due to the racist connotations of the word “antebellum”. The word refers to the pre-Civil War period in the south of the United States and is associated with slavery.
The following day (12th June), Anita ‘Lady A’ White – a black, Seattle-based blues singer who says she has been performing under the moniker for over two decades – spoke out in a Rolling Stone article.
“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,” White said. “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 George Floyd to die for them to realize that their name had a slave reference to it.”
“It’s an opportunity for them to pretend they’re not racist or pretend this means something to them,” she added. “If it did, they would’ve done some research. And I’m not happy about that. You found me on Spotify easily — why couldn’t they?”
Last month, the band claimed they and White had come to an agreement after meeting over Zoom. “Today, we connected privately with the artist Lady A,” wrote the band. “Transparent, honest and authentic conversations were had. We are excited to share we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground.”
However, later that day, White told Newsday that she was not happy with the way that things were left. “Their camp is trying to erase me,” she said. “Trust is important and I no longer trust them.”
In a new statement by the band, they claim White and her team “demanded” a payment of $10 million for the right to the name. “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.”
In the suit, the band say they’ve used the names Lady Antebellum and Lady A interchangeably as early as 2006-2007, including a page from their website in 2008 that cites the band by the nickname.
The suit claims that prior to this year, White “did not challenge, in any way, Plaintiffs’ open, obvious and widespread nationwide and international use of the LADY A mark as a source indicator for Plaintiffs’ recorded, downloadable, and streaming music and videos, Plaintiff’s live musical performances, or Plaintiffs’ sale of souvenir merchandise.”
White has performed under the name Lady A while touring along with music released as early as 2010, having recorded several albums under the name. She is yet to release a statement on the lawsuit.