Lady Antebellum “Deeply Sorry” for Controversial Name, Changes It to Lady A

Posted June 11, 2020 by J Matthew Cobb in News

“I Need You Now” band makes the decision to change their name “after much personal reflection”

In support of the Black Lives Matter movement amid protest of George Floyd’s death in the hands of the Minneapolis police, members of the country band Lady Antebellum have come forward with an open apology regarding their stage name, which references the Old South and its associations to American slavery. The change comes “after much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest black friends and colleagues.”

Own the Night, Lady Antebellum's third album

Own the Night, Lady A’s third album

“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,” the band said through an online statement on their social media via Instagram and Twitter, now featuring their new name “Lady A.” “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 Grammy-award winning country-rock group, made up of musicians Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley, added that they were “deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued.”

The group, best known for best-selling hits “Need You Now” and “Just a Kiss,” also mentioned that their decision comes many years since their founding and even days after civil unrest and protests erupted surrounding the conversation of “Black lives matter,” but that “causing pain was never their attention.”

“We understand that many of you ask the question ‘why  have you not made this change until now?’ The answer is that we can make no excuse for our lateness to this realization,” Lady A added. “What we can do is acknowledge it, turn from it and take action.”

Lady A’s decision to change their name comes a day after NASCAR announced that they were banning fans from waving or wearing Confederate flags at their events. A week prior, NASCAR came forward with a full statement of them acknowledging the “Black Lives Matter” movement and their clarion call for diversity, along with a surprising acknowledgment of LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

As states and municipalities across the country have called for the expedient removal of Confederate monuments and statues across the country (and in some cases, due to vandalism and rioting), other organizations and companies have also come forward with executive decisions to handle matters connected with social injustice and racist connections. Just this week, HBO Max announced the removal of ‘Gone With the Wind’ from their streaming services until they can restore it with a disclaimer for historical context, similar to what Disney did with films like ‘Dumbo’ on their streaming app platform of Disney+.

Online reaction from the band’s name change has been mixed. A good chorus of them are saying “about time.” Equal rights activist Andrew Wortman wrote,” This is how it’s done. Thank you. And yes, if this bothers you, you are a racist.” There are also statements like that from John Zigler who wrote, “Your move, Dixie Chicks,” a sentiment that most sympathizers feel is a knee-jerking erasure of Southern heritage. One person reacted, “Just like that, I’m no longer a fan.”

Lady A added that they hope fans will receive the news well and evolve with them and to “grow into better humans” and “better neighbors.” With the name change, they’re also donating funds to the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) through their non-profit arm LadyAid. “Our prayer is that if we lead by example…with humility, love empathy and action…we can be better allies to those suffering from spoken and unspoken injustices, while influencing our children and generations to come.”

To read Lady A’s full statement online, see below:

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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