Lady Antebellum Is currently ‘Lady A.’ however So Is a Blues Singer Who’s supplied the surname for 20 Years

“This is my life. They’re utilizing the name due to the fact that of a black color Lives matter incident that, because that them, is just a moment in time,” states the original Lady A, a 61-year-old black singer who’s released multiple records under the surname


Lady Antebellum changed their surname to "Lady A," unaware the there to be a 61-year-old black singer through multiple albums with the same name.

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John Shearer/Getty Images; Courtesy the Lady A

Seattle blues singer Lady A had actually just acquired off of occupational on Thursday once a bombardment the phone messages from friends, fans and producers come in all shouting the exact same thing: she name had actually been stolen.

Earlier the day, Grammy-winning nation trio Lady Antebellum — who name had been criticized because that its associations v romanticized principles of the pre-war, slavery-ridden American south — announced lock were an altering their surname to Lady A in light of a heightened national conversation around racism. Lady Antebellum do the changes swiftly on social media and also distribution platforms consisting of Spotify and also Apple Music, and also the group’s website likewise announced your rechristening as Lady A. However according come Seattle’s Lady A, no the tape nor any kind of members of their team reached out come her before making the change.

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This Lady A — a 61-year-old black woman whose actual name is Anita White — has been play the blues under the name for more than 20 years. She started singing as a gospel performer in ~ church and started walking by Lady A because that karaoke nights in the Eighties. She’s exit multiple albums with the name, and on top of her day task working with Seattle windy Utilities, she’s gearing up to release another album, Lady A: Live in brand-new Orleans, ~ above her date of birth on July 18th.

White tells Rolling stone she’s frustrated the Lady Antebellum hadn’t gone to her before making a decision, mentioning the irony in transforming a name in support of gyeongju equality while concurrently taking an additional one indigenous a black color performer. “This is mine life. Lady A is mine brand, I’ve supplied it because that over 20 years, and also I’m proud the what I’ve done,” she says, she voice breaking. “This is too lot right now. They’re making use of the name since of a black Lives matter incident that, because that them, is just a moment in time. If the mattered, it would have mattered come them before. That shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to realize that their name had actually a slave reference to it.

“It’s an chance for them come pretend they’re no racist or pretend this method something to them,” she adds. “If that did, castle would’ve done part research. And also I’m no happy around that. You uncovered me top top Spotify quickly — why couldn’t they?”

When reached for comment Friday morning, a rep for Lady Antebellum stated the band was not aware of the various other artist and plans to reach out to her.

White has actually long to be an advocate of social change. She hasn’t participated in protests around the police death of George Floyd the end of concern around the continuous health crisis — she and also her sisters consistently visit your 83-year-old mommy — however she’s readying a dashboard on Zoom on June 27th with white and also minority colleagues the discusses the duty of white people in conversations about race. She’s composed songs around cases of gyeongju injustice favor the death of Trayvon Martin, and says she readjusted some the the text in one upcoming track in solution to Floyd’s death. That song and also the surname of her upcoming dashboard are called “The fact Is Loud.”

At concern is the possibility of trademark infringement. “Just like various other goods and also services in the marketplace such as Nike or McDonald’s, band names deserve to be defended under trademark law,” explains intellectual-property lawyer Wesley Lewis.

“It’s around who is an initial to use a name. Audience size is irrelevant,” claims Bob Celestin, a longtime music attorney who’s represented Pusha T and Missy Elliott. “And the question is, does the initial Lady A have a trademark registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office? If she does, she have the right to go ahead and sue Lady Antebellum for infringement. If not, she still has a common law trademark and she can still present that she’s been utilizing the surname in commerce — records, posters, tour flyers — for a number of years. She is very first to usage the mark in commerce, therefore that provides her a superior right to the name.”

Celestin adds the if two artists who work in various genres finish up through the exact same name, they can reach a coexistence covenant that allows both teams to sector music under the name by acknowledging the slim possibility for confusion. “But you could say the blues is the structure of country, so they’re very close in genre, and also if they’re near in genre there’s much an ext confusion in the marketplace,” he says.

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“I’m not around to avoid using my name. For them come not also reach out is pure privilege” — Anita White, known professionally together Lady A

Seattle’s Lady A — who acquired her performing begin in a Motown Revue tape in the Eighties — states she holds a company trademark because that Lady A LLC however does not know where she stands indigenous a legitimate standpoint; she is going to speak through a lawyer following week to comment on her options. “I don’t understand if space going to offer me a cease-and-desist. Ns don’t know just how they’d react. However I’m not about to stop using my name,” White says. “For them come not even reach the end is pure privilege. I’m not going come lay down and let this occur to me. But now the load of proof is top top me come prove that my name is in fact mine, and also I don’t also know exactly how much I’ll have to spend to store it.”

If the two parties end up going to court, Celestin claims one team will likely have actually to change their name. The newly-named Lady A may likewise have to salary a sum to the Seattle singer if there’s proof of damages. “Whenever friend sue someone, you have actually to present that you’ve to be hurt,” that says. “So have actually you to be damaged, and also how? This difficulty with surname is not as well common, because it’s straightforward to carry out a Google search. Ns tell my clients to search Google, GoDaddy, and also the trademark office prior to using a name.”

Though together clashes space rare, part artists have had to readjust their name in the past due to doubling. The British group the Charlatans, for example, are known in north America together the Charlatans UK because of a conflict with a Californian psychedelic-folk band currently named the Charlatans.

The Lady A trio have been release music under the moniker Lady Antebellum since 2006, yet said they decided to change their surname after reflecting on its feasible connotations. “We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has actually caused,” team members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and also Dave Haywood created in an Instagram post on Thursday. “We’ve watched and listened more than ever before these last few weeks, and our hearts have actually been stirred v conviction, our eyes opened vast to the injustices, inequality and biases black women and men have constantly faced and continue to challenge every day. Now, blind spots us didn’t also know existed have been revealed.”