Lady A’s Charles Kelly Explains Why Their Name Change Took So Long

The stars of Lady A are seeing more clearly this year.  

In June amid the Black Lives Matter movement, the longtime country trio announced they were dropping “antebellum” from their name as a result of its ties to American slavery. “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,” they explained in a statement. “But we are regretful and embarrassed to say that we 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.”

The decision was a divisive one with some taking issue with the new name while others criticized the group for not acting sooner. Making matters messier, the name change has since sparked a legal battle between the group and singer Anita White, who has been performing with the name Lady A for more than 30 years. The group filed a lawsuit against the singer in July asking the court to uphold their trademark of the name. 

Reflecting on the public’s reaction, Hillary Scott reiterated the intention behind the change six months ago during a virtual interview on Tamron Hall on Dec. 21. 

“The heart of our decision still rings true today as much as it did back in June when we made this announcement,” she told Tamron Hall. “I mean, we want our music, and our live shows and, you know, anything that we’re a part of, for everyone to feel welcome and invited. And we realized, you know, over the summer I think not touring and watching just this movement happen that is so needed in this country and around the world, we started to see what our part was, what part of our first steps and making a difference could be. And so our name changing was the first step…but you never know how things are going to happen and we never saw that coming.”

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