Decency Don’t Live Here Anymore

Last Updated on: 21st October 2022, 11:01 am

There’s something ironic in the shittiest possible way about a band deciding to change its name in order to not feel quite so racist, but then finding that the new one that the members have lazily chosen already belongs to a black artist and then using their major label resources to drag her through the courts and bully her into letting them steal it.

Following legal action by country band Lady Antebellum against blues singer Lady A, the Seattle artist born Anita White has spoke out against the lawsuit against her.

In an interview with Vulture, White told her side of the story, explaining how negotiations with the major label country band now wanting to also be called Lady A fell apart. According to the singer, she was sent a contract on June 30 that “had no substance.”

“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,” White said. “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.”

As previously reported, White has been using the name Lady A for more than two decades. But on Wednesday (July 8), the country band now also wanting to be called Lady A filed a trademark lawsuit against her in Nashville court.

The country group — who are all white and just recently changed their name due to its association with slavery — claimed the Black artist and her team demanded a $10 million payment over the use of the name.

In a statement about the lawsuit, the band wrote, “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.”

The group added that they were not seeking monetary damages or for White to perform under a different name.

If that statement wasn’t a complete load of horseshit (it is) and you’re serious about coexisting, then why not take her suggestion? It seems like the only fair way to allow both sides to keep using the name. And if you’re not after monetary damages, why take her to court when you know you’re in the wrong trademark or no trademark and inflict unnecessary monetary damage?

As for the $10 million, White doesn’t deny that she asked for it. She said that half would go to help her rebrand and half would be donated to organizations that support independent black artists. Again, totally fair, and something that a world famous band who claims they want to be better people should easily be able to get behind.

One thing I will say in defense of the band Lady A (Does the A stand for arsehole now that it no longer stands for Antebellum?) is that White absolutely should have challenged the trademark years ago when they filed for it. But on the other hand, maybe somebody in the Antebellum camp should have done a fucking Google search at some point. Either of those actions could have avoided all of this and everyone could have come out looking a whole lot better than they do now.

The case has been settled. But as with so many of these things, we know nothing about the terms beyond both sides covering their own costs.

Lady A the blues singer and Lady A the country music trio have settled their lawsuit. Anita White, who has performed under the name “Lady A” for nearly 30 years, and Nashville band Lady A, who adopted the moniker after ditching their original name Lady Antebellum in 2020, were locked in a legal dispute over the rights to the name.
White and Lady A Entertainment LLC — consisting of band members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood — filed a joint request to dismiss the lawsuit in a federal Tennessee court on Monday, Jan. 31. The terms of the settlement have not been made public.

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