Veteran Seattle blues singer Anita White has countersued the band who used to call themselves Lady Antebellum, before changing their name to Lady A in June.
They made the switch after deciding that the term antebellum’s association with the pre-Civil War era of American slavery was socially unpalatable in the wake of the the renewed push for racial justice that began after the death of George Floyd. The group, consisting of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood, changed their name shortly after George Floyd died.
White also goes by Lady A and has been doing so for over 20 years, and she’s in a legal fight with the trio for its use.
She filed her trademark infringement lawsuit on Tuesday, Sept. 15, in Seattle’s U.S. District Court, according to the Seattle Times, and wants a judge to keep the band from using Lady A.
White says that she has common law rights to the name since she’s been using it for so long and is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.
“Internet and social media searches for ‘Lady A,’ which had readily returned results for her music, were now dominated by references to Lady Antebellum,” it says in court filings. “Ms. White’s Lady A brand has been usurped and set on a path to erasure.”
Shortly after the band announced their name change, White posted an Instagram photo that showed all of them together and said they were going to share Lady A.
“We are excited to share we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground,” it said in the caption.
But White claimed she stopped working with the trio after their attorney sent her a draft agreement that she didn’t care for. The band then filed a suit against White in July and said they only did so because she wanted a $10 million payment for them to use Lady A.
The group also said they’ve been calling themselves Lady A since 2006, trademarked it in 2010, and wants a judge to confirm that trademark.
White has received plenty of support since news of her battle with the band became known, with some of her fans wearing shirts that say “I support the real Lady A.”
There are also people who said that despite not knowing White they’re standing behind her based on principle and because she’s been using Lady A since the start of her career.
“I haven’t heard of you until now, but I can say, I support you and will continue too,” one person wrote on Instagram.
In June White told Rolling Stone that her music career shouldn’t suffer just because the band abruptly decided to change their name.
“They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time,” she stated. “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.”