Lady A and Anita White Settle Legal Battle Over ‘Lady A’ Name Change

The legal dispute between country trio Lady A, the group formerly known as Lady Antebellum, and blues singer Anita White,…

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Lauren Jo Black

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February 1, 2022

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Lady A; Photo Courtesy CMT, Getty Images

The legal dispute between country trio Lady A, the group formerly known as Lady Antebellum, and blues singer Anita White, who performs as Lady A, has been settled. 

According to court documents obtained by Billboard, Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood and White filed a joint motion on Monday (Jan. 31) to dismiss all claims and counterclaims against each other permanently.

“The Band dismiss all claims in this action against White with prejudice,” the court document reads. ”White dismisses with prejudice all counterclaims against the Band in this action.”

Lady A; Photo Courtesy CMA
Lady A; Photo Courtesy CMA

Details surrounding the settlement were not revealed, including if money was exchanged or if either party must forfeit the use of the name Lady A. However, it was made known that each party shall cover its own legal costs, including all expenses and attorney’s fees.

The GRAMMY-winning country trio changed its name from Lady Antebellum to Lady A in the summer of 2020 due to the racial connotations of the term “antebellum.”

The group explained that the change was sparked by the “injustices, inequality and biases Black women and men have always faced and continue to face every day.” They went on to apologize for any “hurt this has caused” to anyone and promised to make a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative through their long-standing charitable organization Lady Aid.

Following the announcement, Anita “Lady A” White spoke with Rolling Stone about the trio’s name change, revealing that she was blindsided by the news.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by LadyA (@ladya_bluesdiva)

“This is my life,” she said at the time. “Lady A is my brand, I’ve used it for over 20 years, and I’m proud of what I’ve done…. They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time…. It shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to realize that their name had a slave reference to it.”

Several days later, Lady A and White met via Zoom for a conversation that, according to social media, seemed to go really well. According to Lady A’s statement, they even wrote a song together and hoped to collaborate in the future.

“We had [a] meeting today, and we’re looking forward to a beneficial outcome for both parties. We’re making progress,” the solo artist Lady A told Billboard via email on June 15.

The suit states that the trio and solo singer discussed peacefully coexisting and that the trio would “support White’s musical career” in the future.

After those conversations took place, the band’s legal team drafted an agreement, which White was reportedly not happy with.

Lady A; Photo by Jason Kempin Getty Images for CMT Viacom, Anita Lady A White; Photo Courtesy Midwest Records
Lady A; Photo by Jason Kempin Getty Images for CMT Viacom, Anita Lady A White; Photo Courtesy Midwest Records

“Their camp is trying to erase me…. Trust is important, and I no longer trust them,” the singer later told Newsday.

In July of 2020, White reportedly demanded a $10 million payment from the band to allow them to continue to use their trademarked name Lady A. At this time, the trio filed a lawsuit against White. They were not seeking any monetary damages, however, they said that they  “simply wish that the parties continue to coexist.”

White later filed a countersuit against Scott, Kelley and Haywood, accusing them of trademark infringement and claiming that the name change had been “undertaken with willful disregard for Ms. White’s rights.”

“The effect of the name change on Ms. White’s ability to distinguish her music in the marketplace was overwhelming,” White said at the time. “Internet and social media searches for “Lady A,” which had readily returned results for her music, were now dominated by references to Lady Antebellum. Ms. White’s LADY A brand had been usurped and set on the path to erasure.”

To view the court documents, click HERE

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.