Wednesday, July 8, 2020
– Lady A, the trio formerly known as Lady Antebellum, filed a court suit today in Nashville against a Seattle singer, also known as Lady A, for rights to the trademark Lady A.
The band said that the singer was seeking $10 million. The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee in Nashville.
The court battle resulted from Lady Antebellum deciding to change its name to Lady A in the wake of the death of George Floyd and subsequent debate about race in America.
The trio of Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott soon learned that Anita White of Seattle has used the name Lady A for years as a soul singer.
Lady A and White have met to try to iron out their differences to avoid a court suit.
"Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended," the band said. "She and her team have demanded a $10 million payment, so reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that we need to ask a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A, a trademark we have held for many years."
"It was a stirring in our hearts and reflection on our own blindspots that led us to announce a few weeks ago that we were dropping the word 'Antebellum' from our name and moving forward using only the name so many of our fans already knew us by."
"When we learned that Ms. White had also been performing under the name Lady A, we had heartfelt discussions with her about how we can all come together and make something special and beautiful out of this moment. We never even entertained the idea that she shouldn't also be able to use the name Lady A, and never will - today's action doesn't change that."
"Instead, we shared our stories, listened to each other, prayed and spent hours on the phone and text writing a song about this experience together. We felt we had been brought together for a reason and saw this as living out the calling that brought us to make this change in the first place."
"We're disappointed that we won't be able to work together with Anita for that greater purpose. We're still committed to educating ourselves, our children and doing our part to fight for the racial justice so desperately needed in our country and around the world. We've only taken the first small steps and will prioritize racial equality as a key pillar of the work of LadyAID, specifically leaning into supporting and empowering our youth. We hope Anita and the advisers she is now listening to will change their minds about their approach. We can do so much more together than in this dispute."
Billboard reported that in May 2010, according to the suit and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filings reviewed by Billboard, Lady A registered the Lady A name for entertainment purposes, including concerts and streaming. No one opposed the move. The application was registered on July 26, 2011.