Country music trio claim Anita White has ‘demanded a $10m payment’ over the stage name she has used for 20 years
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The US country group Lady A – known until recently as Lady Antebellum, before changing their name to shed slavery-era connotations – is suing the black female artist Lady A over use of the name.
When the trio first announced the name change in June out of respect for black Americans, it appeared that they were unaware that Anita White had been performing as Lady A for 20 years. “This is my life,” White said at the time.
The two parties shared an image of a Zoom call and said they were “moving forward with positive solutions and common ground”. The talks appear to have broken down. In a statement, the members of Lady A said that representatives for White “demanded a $10m [£7.79m] payment”.
The group is not seeking financial damages from White, nor that she change her stage name, but is instead suing her for recognition of a trademark it claims “we have held for many years” and to avoid further litigation.
Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood formed Lady Antebellum in 2006, and say that they faced no opposition, including from White, when they registered “Lady A” as a trademark in 2010.
“We are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended,” the group said in a statement. They added that with White they had “shared our stories, listened to each other, prayed and spent hours on the phone and text writing a song about this experience together.
They added: “We can do so much more together than in this dispute.”
White had told Newsday she felt “the group’s camp is trying to erase me”. In June, she told Rolling Stone: “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.”
She has not commented directly about the lawsuit, however, on Wednesday she posted on Twitter: “No Weapon formed against me shall prosper.”
Lady A concluded their statement with a commitment 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”.
The group are one of several music industry entities to have changed their name following the recent Black Lives Matter protests. Country group the Dixie Chicks announced that they would henceforth be known as the Chicks. British indie label One Little Indian changed its name to One Little Indie, and electronic label Whities is now AD 93.