Last week, the country band formerly known Lady Antebellum announced that it would be changing its name to Lady A, dropping the word "Antebellum" due to its association with racism and slavery. After the band shared its decision, the members were met with backlash from people arguing that they had stolen the name of blues singer Anita White, who has been going by the stage name Lady A for decades.
On Monday, Lady A members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood shared on social media that they had connected "privately" with White, posting a photo of their video call with White, blues singer Dexter Allen and gospel singer John Oliver III. "Today, we connected privately with the artist Lady A," the band wrote. "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." White also posted the photo on her own account with the same caption.
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Speaking to Rolling Stone before the video call, White said that she was not made aware of the group's name change and criticized them for the decision. "This is my life. Lady A is my brand, I've used it for over 20 years, and I'm proud of what I've done," she said. "This is too much right now. 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." She added, "It’s an opportunity for them to pretend they’re not racist or pretend this means something to them. If it did, they would’ve done some research. And I’m not happy about that. You found me on Spotify easily — why couldn’t they?" A rep for Lady A told the magazine that the band was not aware of the other artist and was planning to reach out to her.
On Thursday, Scott, Kelley and Haywood announced that they had chosen to change their band's name "after much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest Black friends and colleagues." The musicians added that they 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." "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."