Blues singer Anita White, also known as Lady A for 20 years, is speaking out after country music trio Lady Antebellum’s decision to file a lawsuit asserting their rights to use the Lady A stage name.
In June, the country music trio announced that they would be changing their band’s name from Lady Antebellum to Lady A due to the former’s racist connotation, and entered talks with White after it was revealed that she had already been using the moniker for the past two decades. However, on Thursday (July 9), the band announced that they had filed a lawsuit against White for the legal right to use Lady A as their new stage name.
However, White believes the band was never acting in good faith from the onset of negotiations over the Lady A name, telling Vulture, “I think they always knew what they were gonna do.”
“The first contract they sent [on June 30] had no substance,” she revealed. “It said that we would coexist and that they would use their best efforts to assist me on social-media platforms, Amazon, iTunes, all that. But what does that mean? I had suggested on the Zoom call that they go by the Band Lady A, or Lady A the Band, and I could be Lady A the Artist, but they didn’t want to do that.”
So, Lady A asked for $10 million for the usage of the name.
“I was quiet for two weeks because I was trying to believe that it was going to be okay and that they would realize that it would be easier to just change their name, or pay me for my name,” she explained. “You don't get to just come and take because you have that privilege. We don't have that luxury or that privilege, so we need somebody to help us and lift us up.”
Instead, Lady Antebellum sued her contending that the band has been using Lady A and Lady Antebellum interchangeably since 2006 and is asking for “a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A, a trademark we have held for many years.”
Ironically, White told Vulture that she intended to use half of that lump sum to rebrand and start over as an artist since she does not have the backing of a record label. The remaining $5 million was to be donated to charities that support Black causes.
“Five million dollars is nothing, and I’m actually worth more than that, regardless of what they think,” she said. “But here we go again with another white person trying to take something from a Black person, even though they say they’re trying to help. If you want to be an advocate or an ally, you help those who you’re oppressing. And that might require you to give up something because I am not going to be erased.”