Seattle’s Lady A – the blues and gospel singer Anita White – has issued a statement calling out the country group Lady A for stealing her name.
The more than 1,500-word statement to Rolling Stone published Friday comes after the Nashville trio filed a lawsuit this week asking a judge to rule whether they have permission to use the name. In White’s statement, she accuses the trio of misappropriating her performance name, misrepresenting their negotiations and propagating the very kind of racism they said they were trying to avoid by changing their name from Lady Antebellum, a reference to the pre-Civil War South.
“They claim to be allies and that they wanted to change their name out of the racist connotation, and then they sue a Black woman for the new name,” she pointed out in the Rolling Stone statement before taking the trio to task on several fronts.
The lawsuit asks a federal judge in U.S. district court in Nashville for clarification on the use of the name and seeks no monetary damage. White said in the statement she has told Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood she does not wish to share the name that she began using in the 1980s while singing karaoke and has used continuously as she released albums over the last two decades.
“At this point, I’m not surprised by anything they would do,” White said to Rolling Stone. “When they talked about how talks broke down, they never talked outside of trying to get me to do what they wanted me to do, which is coexist, and that’s something I never wanted. I stand by that. I’ve said it so many times. And in our conversations, I told them, I didn’t think coexistence would work.”
White said it has already become harder to find her music on streaming platforms and the internet because of the band’s move, and that she has had trouble uploading her new single for release as well. She also said they were disingenuous in the way they described her recent request for $10 million to end her claim.
“They tell a story that I asked for $10 million, but they didn’t tell the true story, and they didn’t say why I did it,” White said. “I saw this wasn’t going anywhere and they erased me. So what do you think I’m going to do? I have to rebrand myself. I don’t want to have to share a name with you. And you shouldn’t be allowed to just get a slap on the wrist. I wanted my name. All I ever wanted was to keep my name in the blues genre doing what I did. I should not have to bend to [the band’s] will because they’ve got money.”
She said she planned to share half that money with the Black Lives Matter movement. Read White’s complete statement.