Lady A, formerly Lady Antebellum, is suing blues singer Anita ‘Lady A’ White for attempting “to enforce purported trademark rights in a mark that Plaintiffs have held for more than a decade.”
The band, which is comprised of members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and David Haywood, changed their name from Lady Antebellum to Lady A on June 11. The change was intended to reflect and honor the Black Lives Matter movement because the word “antebellum” has ties in American history to racism and slavery.
White, a blues singer, has been performing under the name Lady A for over 20 years. The band reached out to White last month, and according to the lawsuit, they had transparent and understanding conversations about both parties continuing to use the name.
Following these conversations, however, White’s new counsel allegedly “delivered a draft settlement agreement that included an exorbitant monetary demand.” In a statement to ET, the group says White demanded $10 million. White has yet to comment.
The lawsuit claims that the band has used Lady Antebellum and Lady A interchangeably as early as 2006 and in 2010, the band applied to trademark Lady A for entertainment purposes. The application was registered in 2011 after there was no opposition filed. The band acknowledges that White has performed under the name Lady A as far back as 2010, but claims that White has never used Lady A as a trademark.
The band is not seeking monetary value in the lawsuit or asking White to stop using the name Lady A, but rather asking for a court declaration that they are lawfully allowed to continue using Lady A as well.
The band has made the following statement addressing the lawsuit, “Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended. 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.”
“It was a stirring in our hearts and reflection on our own blindspots that led us to announce a few weeks ago that we were dropping the word ‘Antebellum’ from our name and moving forward using only the name so many of our fans already knew us by. When we learned that Ms. White had also been performing under the name Lady A, we had heartfelt discussions with her about how we can all come together and make something special and beautiful out of this moment.”
“We never even entertained the idea that she shouldn’t also be able to use the name Lady A, and never will — today’s action doesn’t change that. Instead, we shared our stories, listened to each other, prayed and spent hours on the phone and text writing a song about this experience together. We felt we had been brought together for a reason and saw this as living out the calling that brought us to make this change in the first place. We’re disappointed that we won’t be able to work together with Anita for that greater purpose.”
“We’re still committed to educating ourselves, our children and doing our part to fight for the racial justice so desperately needed in our country and around the world. We’ve only taken the first small steps and will prioritize racial equality as a key pillar of the work of LadyAID, specifically leaning into supporting and empowering our youth. We hope Anita and the advisers she is now listening to will change their minds about their approach. We can do so much more together than in this dispute.”