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Lady A, the singer, is fighting back against Lady A, the group

Singer Anita White, who says she has been known as Lady A for years, speaks to HLN's Melissa Knowles after the country group Lady A, who changed their name from Lady Antebellum because of its connection to slavery, sued White.

Posted: Jul 11, 2020 6:31 AM
Updated: Jul 11, 2020 6:31 AM

The singer Lady A is pushing back against a suit from the band Lady A.

The country trio formerly known as Lady Antebellum, filed suit on Wednesday against Anita White, a singer/songwriter who also performs as Lady A.

White recently told HLN she had been willing to work with the band but is unwilling to share the name with them.

"You're saying that you are an ally, but you are not," White said. "You basically want to bully me and take the name and think that that's ok. That's not an ally."

A rep for the band told CNN on Friday they had no additional comment.

In June, Lady Antebellum, made up of Dave Haywood, Hillary Scott, and Charles Kelley, announced it would be dropping the "Antebellum" portion of its name because of the association with slavery and go by "Lady A" instead.

"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 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."

That caused a problem for White, a blues singer who has performed under the name for decades.

It initially looked like the parties would be able to work it out, and the band posted a screenshot on their verified Instagram account of all of them smiling during a video conference with White and her reps.

"Today, we connected privately with the artist Lady A. Transparent, honest, and authentic conversations were had," the caption read. "We are excited to share we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground. The hurt is turning into hope. More to come."

But things broke down and the group filed suit in Nashville's US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.

The suit asserts that the group was granted a trademark on the name "Lady A" in 2011, after several years of using it for their goods and services "interchangeably with 'Lady Antebellum' since the 2006-2007 timeframe."

"Based on information and belief, White has never applied to register 'Lady A' as a trademark or service mark," the suit states.

The suit goes on to say that during the video conference call, White and the band "discussed co-writing and jointly recording a new song that would be promoted and commercialized by the parties, and soon afterward, began collaborating on the writing process." But that derailed amid "White's public statements" and "White's demand for an exorbitant payment in exchange for continued coexistence."

The band declined to appear on HLN with White, but provided a statement.

"Our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended," the statement read. "She and her team have demanded a $10 million payment so reluctantly we have we have come to the conclusion that we need to ask a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A, a trademark we have held for many years."

White told HLN she was seeking $5 million to rebrand herself and to "help my community" and an additional $5 million to go to charity, including Black Lives Matter.

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