Lady Antebellum Drop Slavery-Tied ‘Antebellum’ From Name
UPDATE (June 12): One day after Lady A announced their name change, Rolling Stone reported on a blues singer from Seattle who has been performing under the name Lady A for more than two decades and is outraged at the country trio's name change.
"It’s an opportunity for them to pretend they’re not racist or pretend this means something to them," says the singer Lady A, who adds that she will be meeting with a lawyer to determine her rights. "If it did, they would’ve done some research. And I’m not happy about that."
Lady Antebellum have officially changed their name to Lady A, dropping the word "antebellum" due to its association with slavery. The band announced the decision on Instagram on Thursday (June 11).
"When we set out together almost 14 years ago, we named our band after the southern 'antebellum'-style home where we took our 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," Lady A's Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott explain in a statement. "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."
"Antebellum" is a word derived from the Latin phrase "ante bellum," which literally means "before the war." The term dates back to the 1840s, Merriam-Webster explains, and became associated with the pre-Civil War era after the fact.
"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," Lady A continue. "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. So today, we speak up and make a change. We hope you will dig in and join us."
Lady A formed in 2006 and have released eight studio albums, the most recent being 2019's Ocean. The trio says they decided to change their name "[a]fter much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest Black friends and colleagues."
While Lady A say they have been "awakened" in recent weeks, they also acknowledge that their name change is "just one step" in continuing to fight for racial equality in America.
"We want to do better. We are committed to examining our individual and collective impact and making the necessary changes to practice anti-racism. 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," the band writes. "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 and generations to come."
Lady A are also making a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative via their LadyAID charity fund.
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