In June, the band, formerly known as Lady Antebellum, announced they would change their name to Lady A to remove any connection to slavery. But weeks after apparently reaching an agreement with Seattle-based blues singer Anita White, who has been using the same name for more than a decade, the country group announced on Wednesday that she would be sued.
“Today we are saddened that our sincere hope of working with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended,” Lady A’s band members said in a statement to CBS News. “She and her team requested a $ 10 million payment, so we reluctantly came to the conclusion that we need to ask a court to reaffirm our right to use the name Lady A, a brand that we have had for many years keep using it. “
Band members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and David Haywood decided to sue after “White attempted to enforce alleged trademark rights in a brand that plaintiffs have held for more than a decade.” The band does not seek financial compensation, the lawsuit said.
The band has used the name Lady A along with their original band name Lady Antebellum since 2006-2007. They officially dropped Antebellum from their name on June 11 when protests continued against racial injustices.
“Lady A” became an official trademark of the band in 2011 after no-one complained about the name, according to the lawsuit. “Before 2020, White had in no way questioned the plaintiffs’ open, obvious, and widespread, nationwide and international use of the Lady A brand as a source indicator,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit points out that White has identified herself as Lady A since 2010 and also publishes her music on a Spotify artist page. However, the lawsuit pointed out that White’s artist side had 166 monthly listeners at the time of the trial, compared to the band’s more than 7 million.
White’s website states that it mainly occurs in the Pacific Northwest, but also internationally. She told Rolling Stone that she has performed for more than the stage name Lady A.. Her latest CD is scheduled for release on July 18th.
On June 15, White posted a photo of a zoom call between her and the band on her Instagram page that said, “There were transparent, honest, and authentic conversations.”
“We are pleased to announce that we are driving positive solutions and common ground,” said White in her post. “The pain turns into hope. More will come.”
During the call, the musicians discussed, according to the lawsuit, “taking notes and recording a new song together”.
The next day, White Newsday said that she had received a draft contract from the band’s lawyers and that she was “not happy about it” [it]. ”
“Your camp is trying to wipe me out and I’ll have more to say tomorrow,” she told Newsday. “Trust is important and I don’t trust them anymore.”
White did not immediately respond to CBS News’ request for comment.
White previously told CBS News that after the zoom call with the band, they forgave the band for their “misstep.” She also praised the band for advocating the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I greet them for that and I am ready to help in every way possible and they are ready to help in every way possible. So we will work together,” she said. “This is where white allies have to start listening to black people, indigenous people and black people. We need to make sure you listen so that we can change this narrative of racism in this world.”
The band said in a statement that when they found that White had already performed under the name Lady A, they had “heartfelt discussions with her about how we can all get together and make something special and beautiful from this moment.”
Her publicist Tyne Parrish told CBS News at the time that the artists agreed that they could both continue to use Lady A.
“We never had the idea that she shouldn’t use the name Lady A, and never will – today’s campaign doesn’t change that. We felt that we had been brought together for a reason, and saw this as living the vocation that made us make this change at all, “the band said in the lawsuit.
“We are disappointed that we cannot work with Anita for this larger purpose,” added the suit. “We are still striving to educate ourselves and our children and to contribute to the fight for racial justice that is so urgently needed in our country and around the world. … We hope Anita and the counselors who she is listening to now will change her minds about her approach. We can do so much more together than in this argument. “
Sophie Lewis contributed to this report.