The country group formerly known as Lady Antebellum announced last week that it was changing its name due to the association with slavery. But although the group’s new name, Lady A, was already taken by a black blues singer from Seattle, a representative for the group told CBS News that the band will continue to use it.
“They have agreed that both should continue to move forward as Lady A,” publicist Tyne Parrish said. The original Lady A, whose real name is Anita White, confirmed on Monday that she would keep her name.
White told CBS News on Monday that she was “triggered” when she found out Lady Antebellum had decided to use her stage name, which she has used for decades.
“I always try to tell people that trauma is real for black people, and especially now,” she said. “With the murders that are happening in the street, on television where people can watch them or children can see black men, women being killed, I was triggered. And so I was furious when I first found out that Lady Antebellum had appropriated the name.”
“I was furious because it felt like yet another white person’s privilege was going to be allowed to take something from another black person,” she added. “Besides our lives, now you’re gonna take our name, and that triggered me.”
White, who also works as a social justice advocate, said she spoke to the band on a Zoom call on Monday, which she said was “positive.” She said the band members apologized to her and that she has accepted their apology.
“I accepted that apology and forgive them for that misstep, but at the same time, we need to work to make a better change,” she said.
While White said that she is “thankful” for the “free press” the incident has gotten her, she said she was content before the drama began.
“I had an audience and a fan base before this. I have CD’s out before this. I’ve toured before this,” she said, noting that she has “calmed down” since the news broke last week. “This will only make it better.”
She also called the band “brave” for using its platform to speak up for the Black Lives Matter movement. “I applaud them for it, and I’m willing to help any way I can and they are wiling to help any way they can. So we’re gonna work together,” she said.
White hinted that she could collaborate with the band in the future. “We talked about it and we’ll see where that goes,” she said.
White also urged people to be kinder to the members of the band, who have experienced backlash following the name change. “I don’t want people out there spewing hate just because they made a misstep. And yes, I was angry about it, but I’m over it now,” she said.
“This is where white allies need to start listening to black people, indigenous people, people of color,” she added. “We need to make sure that you’re listening so that we can change this narrative of racism in this world.”