In June, the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum announced that it would rename Lady A to remove all association with slavery. But weeks after appearing to reach an agreement with Seattle-based blues singer Anita White, who has been using the same name for more than a decade, the group announced on Wednesday that it was right for her.
“Today we are sorry to share that our sincere hope of joining forces with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended,” the band members of Lady A said in a statement to CBS News. “She and her team have demanded a $ 10 million payment, so reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that we must ask a court to confirm our right to continue using the name Lady A, a trademark we have had for many years.”
Band members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and David Haywood decided to sue after “White’s attempt to enforce alleged trademark rights in a mark that the plaintiff has had for more than a decade,” according to the lawsuit. The band is not seeking financial damages, the lawsuit says.
The band has used the name Lady A, along with their original band name Lady Antebellum, since 2006-2007, according to the lawsuit. They officially dropped Antebellum from their name on June 11 amid ongoing protests against racial justice.
“Lady A” became an official trademark of the band in 2011 after no one registered in opposition to the name, according to the suit. “By 2020, White was not in any way challenging the complainants’ open, obvious and widespread nationwide and international use of the Lady A mark as a source indicator,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit notes that White has been identified as Lady A since 2010 and that she also has her music on a Spotify artist site. But the suit pointed out that White’s artist site at the court filing had 166 monthly listeners, compared to the band’s more than 7 million.
White’s website says that she mainly plays in the Pacific Northwest, but that she has also performed internationally. She told Rolling Stone that she has performed under the stage name Lady A for more than. Her latest CD will be released on July 18.
On June 15, White posted a photo of a Zoom conversation between her and the band on her Instagram page, saying “transparent, honest and genuine conversations had been.”
“We are happy to share that we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground,” White said in his post. “The injury turns into hope. More to come.”
During the conversation, the musicians discussed “co-writing and joint recording of a new song,” according to the mood.
The next day, White told Newsday that she received a draft agreement from the band’s attorneys and that she was not “happy with [it]”.
“Their camps are trying to erase me and I’ll say more tomorrow,” she told Newsday. “Confidence is important and I no longer trust them.”
White did not immediately respond to CBS News’s request for comment.
White previously told CBS News that after forgetting the Zoom conversation with the band, she had forgiven the band for their “mistake”. She also praised the band for standing up for the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I applaud them for it and I’m willing to help in whatever way I can and they want to help in whatever way they can. So we’re going to work together,” she said. “This is where white allies need to start listening to black people, indigenous peoples and colors. We need to make sure you listen so we can change this story of racism in this world.”
The band said in a statement that when they realized that White had already performed under the name Lady A, they had “cordial discussions with her about how we can all meet and do something special and beautiful from that moment.”
Their publicist, Tyne Parrish, told CBS News at the time that the artists agreed that they could both continue to use Lady A.
“We never even entertained the idea that she could not use the name Lady A either, and will never do that – today’s act doesn’t change that … We felt that we had been brought together for a reason and saw this as living out the conversation that led us to make this change in the first place, “the band said in the lawsuit.
“We are disappointed that we will not be able to partner with Anita for the greater purpose,” the suit added. “We are 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 can do so much more together than in this dispute.”
Sophie Lewis contributed to this report.