While some truly impressive and legitimate discussions have been coming out of the recent racial turmoil, one sector that has repeatedly proven itself utterly useless is the entertainment sector.
On the heels of the cringey COVID “Imagine” love-fest, celebrities resurrected the formula to record a strange compilation of white entertainers like Sarah Paulson and Debra Messing taking “responsibility” for being white or something. I’m sure the sentiment was sincere, but the result was hilariously horrifying.
With all these celebrities racing each other to the bottom, it’s hard to keep up with the repentance records but even popular country music band Lady Antebellum got in on the trend. Earlier this week, they announced they were changing their name to “Lady A”, saying they “did not take into account the associations that weigh down this word referring to the period of history before the civil war, which includes slavery.”
Their sincerity might have been real, but it was no less of a thoughtless knee-jerk reaction than anything else we’ve seen these past few weeks. Case in point: Lady A(ntebellum) did not even check to see if someone else might be creating under that name. In fact, it turns out someone does create under that name.
And she is a black woman.
And she is not impressed.
“Lady A” is a 61-year-old blues singer who has gone by the name for over twenty years. She told Rolling Stone she didn’t much appreciate the superstar trio squatting on her hard-earned name in the name of justice.
“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.
“It’s an opportunity for them to pretend they’re not racist or pretend this means something to them,” she adds. “If it did, they would’ve done some research. And I’m not happy about that. You found me on Spotify easily — why couldn’t they?”
When reached for comment Friday morning, a rep for Lady Antebellum said the band was not aware of the other artist and plans to reach out to her.
The singer has plans to release an album under her “Lady A” moniker this July.
The response from celebrity culture has been utterly childish and self-serving. Lady A(ntebellum) and others would do well to calm down, step away from the spotlight for a moment, and quietly consider their thoughts before announcing them to the public. At this point, is becoming a publicity stunt instead of a genuine call to action.
But it’s kind of hilarious, too.