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Updated on Jun 15, 2020. Posted on Jun 13, 2020

The Band Formerly Known As Lady Antebellum Is Being Accused Of "Performative Wokeness" And Being "Tone-Deaf" For Taking The Name Of A Black Singer

"How can you say Black Lives Matter and put your knee on the neck of another Black artist?"

Earlier this week, the country group formerly known as Lady Antebellum announced that they were changing their name to Lady A.

Taylor Hill / Getty Images

In a lengthy statement, the band wrote that their "eyes [had been] opened wide to the injustices, inequality and biases Black women and men have always faced and continue to face everyday" and that they "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."

However, "Lady A" is already the stage name of Seattle blues singer Anita White, and one she has used for nearly two decades.

"This is my life. Lady A is my brand, I’ve used it for over 20 years, and I’m proud of what I’ve done," she said in a new interview with Rolling Stone. "This is too much right now."

"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."

The blues singer went on: “It’s an opportunity for them to pretend they’re not racist or pretend this means something to them. If it did, they would’ve done some research. And I’m not happy about that. You found me on Spotify easily — why couldn’t they?”

“For them to not even reach out is pure privilege," the 61-year-old continued. "I’m not going to lay down and let this happen to me. But now the burden of proof is on me to prove that my name is in fact mine, and I don’t even know how much I’ll have to spend to keep it.”

The artist — who has released multiple albums under the name Lady A — shared the Rolling Stones article on her Instagram and captioned it, "How can you say Black Lives Matter and put your knee on the neck of another Black artist?"

Many people called out the "Need You Now" band for their name change on Twitter:

@ladya There is a singer that goes by the name Lady A, she’s 61, she’s black and has been recording under that name for years. Didn’t you check first? Now that is some white privileged shit

They called it "performative wokeness":

So… Lady Antebellum changes their name to Lady A, and in so doing completely ignores and overshadows a Black performer who has gone by that name for 2 decades. You literally could not find a more perfect example of "performative wokeness" if you tried. https://t.co/vLnEIzg2N0

As well as "tone-deaf":

How tone deaf is it to change your name to a BLACK FEMALE ARTIST’S decades long stage name while trying to prove you’re not racist? Y’all give Anita White her name back. Lady A is already taken and you can’t fucking have it. https://t.co/iLMUcMchFX

@ladya are you aware that there is a black blues singer that goes by the name lady a, and has been for 20 years? stealing her name is putting her out of work for your benefit. you should be ashamed...tone deaf.

And, of course, they pointed out the unfunny irony of changing the name to be more respectful towards Black people...only to then use the name of a Black performer:

The irony 🤦‍♂️ So Lady antebellum changed their name to Lady A in support of racial equality, but simultaneously taking that name from a black performer. Yes, a black Blues singer Lady A, who’s been active for over 20 years. #mindblown #LadyAntebellum #LadyA @ladya

However, some fans were quick to defend the country group, noting that they've unofficially gone by the name "Lady A" for years:

all these “fans” mad about Lady Antebellum changing their name to Lady A like they haven’t been calling them that for years 😭

@EW Why is this coming up NOW? Lady "Antebellum" has been called Lady "A" for YEARS

Yet, it's worth noting that this was simply a nickname. They're now branded as Lady A on all social media platforms, as well as Spotify, making the music of blues singer Lady A much harder to find. Furthermore, fan base size and popularity don't matter much from a legal standpoint, but rather whoever used the name first.

The country band has yet to respond to the criticism, but singer Lady A has made one thing perfectly clear: She's not giving up her name without a fight.

OWN

What do you think about Lady A vs. Lady A? Tell us in the comments!

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