Let the games begin. The band formerly known as Lady Antebellum announced in June that they were changing their name — but the transition hasn’t been easy.
Band members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood confirmed that they would be taking the country group in a new direction after acknowledging the dangerous history of the word “antebellum” amid nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.
“As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge … inclusive of all,” the Grammy winners declared via a lengthy Instagram statement on June 11. “After much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest Black friends and colleagues, we have decided to drop the word ‘antebellum’ from our name and move forward as Lady A, the nickname our fans gave us almost from the start.”
Scott, 34, Kelley, 38, and Haywood, 37, admitted that they felt “regretful and embarrassed” about not being more aware of the meaning behind the word and its connection to slavery. “We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued,” they added.
One day after news of their name change made headlines, the band faced backlash from blues singer Anita White, who has been performing under the name Lady A for over 20 years.
“This is too much right now,” White, 61, told Rolling Stone magazine on June 12. “They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time. 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. … For them to not even reach out is pure privilege.”
Less than one week after White shared her story, the two Lady A’s sat down for a discussion on how they could find “common ground.” Though the band alluded to making positive developments with White, they issued a lawsuit against her the following month.
“Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended,” the country singers said in a statement to Us Weekly on July 9. “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.”
Scroll down to learn more details about the Lady A drama.