Country-music trio Lady A, formerly Lady Antebellum, recently changed their name in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. However, because Lady A is already claimed by blues singer Anita White, the trio is taking the issue to court.
What We Know:
- Following the protests against police brutality and racial injustice, Lady A changed their name because the word “Antebellum” describes a time where slavery was at its peak and they made the announcement on Instagram.
- Now, according to the lawsuit, “Lady A” was a nickname given to the band by their fans and it became an official trademark for the band in 2011. But another artist, Seattle-base blues singer Anita White, has been using the same stage name for more than a decade as well.
- The band attempted to agree with White and her team and in a Zoom call they were all able to discuss “co-writing and jointly recording a new song” and all seemed well.
- White even posted on her Instagram a photo of the Zoom call saying, “Today, we connected privately with the artist Lady A,” the post read. “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.”
- But the next day, White received a draft agreement from the band’s attorneys and said she was “not happy”. “Their camp is trying to erase me and I’ll more to say tomorrow, she told Newsday. “Trust is important and I no longer trust them.”
- According to the band’s lawsuit, all agreements were off when White asked for a $10 million payment, which led the band to sue White because of her “attempt to enforce purported trademark rights in a mark that Plaintiffs have held for more than a decade”.
- “Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended,” the trio said. “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.”
The lawsuit does acknowledge the fact that White has identified as Lady A since 2010 and features her music on Spotify, but it also notes that during the time of the court filing, White had 166 monthly listeners, compared to the group’s more than seven million.