Enough beating around the bush. It is time that we call out the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum for what they are: racist, white progressives. In case you’re not familiar with the story, the country group came under fire after it decided to change its name from Lady Antebellum to “Lady A,” in one of the most cynical and pathetic acts of virtue signaling that one can imagine.
Shortly after racial tensions hit a fever pitch after the death of George Floyd, the entertainment industry went into full “woke” mode in an attempt to show everyone how not racist they are and to avoid being on the business end of a cancel culture campaign. Lady A decided to preempt any potential canceling by changing their name due to its racial connotations.
On June 11, the band tweeted a message to their fans explaining that “after much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest black friends and colleagues, we have decided to drop the word ‘antebellum’ from our name and move forward.”
At first glance, it seemed like the usual, woke lefty BS to which we have become accustomed. It is typical, virtue-signaling fare, but overall, it appeared to be harmless. But then, it became more nefarious, when it was revealed that a black blues singer by the name of Anita White had been performing under the name “Lady A” for years and had even filed for trademark protection.
So, instead of finding a new name, the band, which is worth $41 million, decided to wage a lawfare campaign against White over the use of the moniker. In an interview with Rolling Stone, she said:
“This is my life. Lady A is my brand, I’ve used it for over 20 years, and I’m proud of what I’ve done,” she says, her voice breaking. “This is too much right now. They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time. If it mattered, it would have mattered to them before. It shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to realize that their name had a slave reference to it.”
The two parties met to see if they could figure out a compromise. The band balked when White asked for $10 million to help her rebrand and support Black Lives Matter and other causes she believes in. Apparently, they felt this was too much to ask in exchange for White giving up her stage name, under which she performed for years, so they decided to sue her, even though she had been using the moniker before them.
White tried to come to other compromises during the meeting as well. She suggested that she go by “Lady A the Artist,” while the band performs under “Lady A the Band.” This was also unacceptable. The blues singer also noted that Antebellum wanted to use her to gain woke cred with the leftist crowd. “They wanted what they wanted,” she said. “They wanted me to go, and do a song with them to make them look, ‘Woke’ That’s what they wanted, they were pushing that.”
My colleague, Jennifer O’Connell, pointed out that:
It seems asking for money from a multi-million dollar band was a bridge too far. Antebellum/Lady A sued Anita White for the use of the name. They have no problem with her still using it—they already own the trademark (since 2011)—they just want to have the right to use it as they see fit, and wiping out 20 years of someone’s blood, sweat, and tears is just an afterthought.
But as is typical of knee-jerk liberal decisions, the law of unintended consequences slapped someone else in the face. In rebranding themselves as ‘Lady A’, the band usurped the name and trademark of another music artist, Seattle-based Black blues singer Anita White, who has used ‘Lady A’ for over 20 years.
This is true, but it doesn’t go far enough in my estimation, so I’ll just say it: The actions of the members of the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum are racist as hell. Their initial decision to change their name out of some misguided sense of racial sensitivity is innocent enough. Still, when they pivoted to stealing the stage name of a black singer just to make themselves more palatable to progressives, they crossed the line into the exact type of racism that we see from white leftists.
Their actions are akin to those of white musicians in the past who co-opted songs written by black musicians without giving them credit or royalties from the music. They are changing their name to avoid losing money, and they are attempting to do this by exploiting a black musician who isn’t as well-known as they are. It seems unlikely that White will be able to fight back against the band’s usurpation of the name that she has worked hard to build upon.
Imagine for a second how this would play out if the members of the band were outspoken conservatives. We would be hearing about the story ad nauseum from Rolling Stone, and other left-wing activist media outlets. Think of the whining we would be hearing from CNN’s Don Lemon and former ESPN host Jemele Hill.
Some on the left have condemned the band for their actions, but overall, there hasn’t been the usual outrage that they display in more politically expedient circumstances. Big shocker there, right? In these situations, I understand that folks on the right don’t want to be quick to throw the “racism” word around willy-nilly, unlike our counterparts on the left.
But in this case, it makes sense: the label is accurate and there is no reason to shy away from calling out the brazen racism displayed by these white progressives, who only pretend to care about black folks when it can benefit their revenue stream.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!