Country music trio Lady A—formerly known as Lady Antebellum—has filed a lawsuit against blues singer Anita White, who has been performing under the name Lady A for a number of years.
According to the lawsuit filed in a Nashville court, Lady A’s Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley are seeking a ruling that their use of the trademark “Lady A” does not infringe on White’s alleged trademark rights of the same name. The band is not seeking monetary damages or attempting to prohibit White from performing under the name Lady A.
According to the lawsuit, the band applied for trademarks for the name “Lady A” in 2010 and no oppositions were filed. The band released a statement on July 8—which you can read below in its entirety—claiming that White “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.”
Here’s a bit of background on Lady A vs. Lady A.
On June 11, Lady Antebellum changed its name to Lady A in an effort to recognize “those suffering from spoken and unspoken injustices.” The word “antebellum” comes from the Latin words “ante” (“before”) and “bellum” (“war”), which is a romanticized adjective commonly used to describe the period before the American Civil War.
On June 12, White spoke to Rolling Stone, noting that the band didn’t reach out to her before changing its name—a name she says she has been using for “over 20 years.”
On June 15, the band shared a photo on Instagram that featured White, two of her colleagues and the trio on a Zoom call with the caption: “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.”
The “more” has turned into a lawsuit. The band released a statement on July 8, which you can read below.
“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.”
photo by TCD