Nashville pop-country band Lady Antebellum changed their name to Lady A last month. As they explained to their fans, they dropped the Antebellum because “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.” Another thing they did not take into account: Anita White, a 61-year-old blues singer from Seattle, has been performing under the name Lady A for more than two decades. After White expressed her displeasure with the name change, the band made contact to seek out “positive solutions and common ground.” Those solutions apparently included suing White for trademark infringement.
White has continued to speak out about the ordeal, most recently asserting that coexistence with the band under the same name is not feasible because they have essentially erased her from streaming platforms. And now she’s given a televised interview about the situation to Desus & Mero, connecting with the Showtime talk show from her home via livestream.
Wearing a T-shirt that reads “I’M NOT ANGRY,” White continued to tell her side of the story:
It’s ironic that they wanna be “woke,” but at the same time, you only wanna be partially woke. They called me after Rolling Stone magazine called me. That’s the only way you know about me. Then the management company and [singer] Hillary [Scott] started reaching out to me. I finally decided to reply. The first thing I said was I do not want to share the name. What does coexistence look like? Nobody would answer that specific question.
White said after a call with lawyers on the line, she and her producers did a Zoom meeting with the country band, artist-to-artist. “I needed specifics for how this was going to work. Because they kept saying, “Oh, don’t worry, you’re not gonna get buried. Don’t worry about it.” She said she later received a contract from the band promising to make their “best effort” to assure the original Lady A would not disappear from online platforms. She suggested she be “Lady A (the artist)” and they could be “Lady A (the band),” but she said the band did not respond. Ultimately the band’s management company offered to rebrand White in exchange for the name, a deal she wasn’t interested in. “If you wanna be an ally, you gotta put some power behind your words,” she said. “If you wanna be an ally, sometimes you gotta give up something.”
Watch the full interview below.