Lady Antebellum announced on Thursday that they will be dropping "Antebellum" from the group's name and will now go by Lady A. Band members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood shared the decision in a statement on social media, explaining how they will remove the term — which refers to the Antebellum South — from their name due to the implications of racism and oppression associated with the word.
"Dear Fans," the trio's message began. "As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge…inclusive of all. We've watched and listened more than ever these last few weeks, and our hearts have been stirred with conviction, our eyes opened wide to the injustices, inequality and biases Black women and men have always faced and continue to face everyday. Now, blindspots we didn't even know existed have been revealed." The group shared that "after much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest Black friends and colleagues," they decided to drop "antebellum" and move forward as Lady A, "the nickname our fans gave us almost from the start."
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The Antebellum South is the period in the Southern United States before the American Civil War and is known for economic growth in the region, which largely stemmed from the heavy use of slavery. Lady A explained that when they formed their group almost 14 years ago, they named the band after the Southern "antebellum" style home where they took their first photos. "As musicians, it reminded us of all the music born in the south that influenced us…Southern Rock, Blues, R&B, Gospel and of course Country," they shared. "But we are regretful and embarrassed to say that we did not take into account the associations that weigh down this word referring to the period of history before The Civil War, which includes slavery. We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued."
"Causing pain was never our hearts' intention, but it doesn't change the fact that indeed, it did just that," the message continued. "So today, we speak up and make a change. We hope you will dig in and join us." The band noted that changing its name "is just one step" and "there are countless more that need to be taken."
"We are committed to examining our individual and collective impact and making the necessary changes to practice antiracism," they shared. "We will continue to educate ourselves, have hard conversations and search the parts of our hearts that need pruning — to grow into better humans, better neighbors." Scott, Kelley and Haywood announced that as part of that growth, they will be making a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative through LadyAID.
"Our prayer is that if we lead by example…with humility, love, empathy and action…we can be better allies to those suffering from spoken and unspoken injustices while influencing our children & generations to come," they concluded.