Whenever anyone in the music industry gets into a legal battle, hearing from both sides can be confusing. But it is necessary to see the big picture. So when word started to spread on Wednesday (July 8) that the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum was suing a blues singer who goes by Lady A, what really went on between the two parties got lost in the shuffle.
So this timeline paints a bigger picture of the sequence of events that led to the filing of lawsuits over who gets to use the name Lady A.
June 11: Lady Antebellum announces that they are officially changing their band name to Lady A.
At the time, they made a statement about the change. “When we set out together almost 14 years ago, we named our band after the southern ’antebellum’ style home where we took our first photos. As musicians, it reminded us of all the music born in the south that influenced us…southern rock, blues, R&B, gospel and of course country. But we are regretful and embarrassed to say that we did not take into account the associations that weigh down this world referring to the period of history before the Civil War, which includes slavery. We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued. Causing pain was never our heart’s intention, but it doesn’t change the fact that indeed, it did just that,” the band shared on social media as part of a lengthy explanation.
June 12: Blues singer Lady A (Anita White) maintains that she’d been using the stage name Lady A for a decade and is blindsided by the country trio’s decision.
June 15: Both Lady A and Lady A seem to come to an agreement that they’d both use the name.
They both posted on Instagram to share the news that all was well between them. “The hurt is turning into hope. More to come,” the country band wrote.
July 7: White’s lawyer files a lawsuit against the country band demanding approximately $10 million for a continued coexistence.
July 8: A lawsuit is filed in Nashville’s U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on behalf of the country band to give them the right to continue as Lady A.
“Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended,” the group said in a statement. “She and her team have demanded a $10 million payment, so reluctantly 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.”
According to CBS News, Lady A has been the band’s official trademark since 2011 — and unofficial nickname since 2006-2007 — and that prior to 2020, White never challenged their use of the Lady A mark as a source indicator, according to the lawsuit. The band is not seeking monetary damages, rather, they are trying to go back to the previous agreement from June 15 that would allow both artists to use the name. “We never even entertained the idea that (White) shouldn’t also be able to use the name Lady A, and never will — today’s action doesn’t change that. …We felt we had been brought together for a reason and saw this as living out the calling that brought us to make this change in the first place,” the band’s statement says.
This is a developing story. We will share more details as they become available.