Lady A and Grammy Nominated Harp/Guitarist and Vocalist, Kenny Neal 2019 (from Lady A’s website)

By Sophie Lewis, CBS News | Lady Antebellum decides to keep new name, despite speaking with blues singer Lady A. The country group formerly known as Lady Antebellum announced last week that it was changing its name due to the association with slavery. But although the group’s new name, Lady A, was already taken by a black blues singer from Seattle, a representative for the group told CBS News that the band will continue to use it.

“They have agreed that both should continue to move forward as Lady A,” publicist Tyne Parrish said. The original Lady A, whose real name is Anita White, confirmed on Monday that she would keep her name.

White told CBS News on Monday that she was “triggered” when she found out Lady Antebellum had decided to use her stage name, which she has used for decades.

“I always try to tell people that trauma is real for black people, and especially now,” she said.

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“I was furious because it felt like yet another white person’s privilege was going to be allowed to take something from another black person,” she added. “Besides our lives, now you’re gonna take our name, and that triggered me.”

White, who also works as a social justice advocate, said she spoke to the band on a Zoom call on Monday, which she said was “positive.” She said the band members apologized to her and that she has accepted their apology.

“I accepted that apology and forgive them for that misstep, but at the same time, we need to work to make a better change,” she said.
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Lady Antebellum Is Now ‘Lady A.’ But So is a Blues Singer Who’s Used the Name for 20 Years

Seattle blues singer Lady A had just gotten off of work on Thursday when a bombardment of phone messages from friends, fans and producers came in all shouting the same thing: Her name had been stolen.

Earlier that day, Grammy-winning country trio Lady Antebellum — whose name had been criticized for its associations with romanticized ideas of the pre-war, slavery-ridden American South — announced they were changing their name to Lady A in light of a heightened national conversation about racism. Lady Antebellum made the changes swiftly on social media and distribution platforms including Spotify and Apple Music, and the group’s website also announced their rechristening as Lady A. But according to Seattle’s Lady A, neither the band nor any members of their team reached out to her before making the change.

This Lady A — a 61-year-old black woman whose real name is Anita White — has been playing the blues under the name for more than 20 years. She began singing as a gospel performer at church and started going by Lady A for karaoke nights in the Eighties. She’s released multiple albums with the name, and on top of her day job working with Seattle Public Utilities, she’s gearing up to release another album, Lady A: Live in New Orleans, on her birthday on July 18th.
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At issue is the possibility of trademark infringement. “Just like other goods and services in the marketplace such as Nike or McDonald’s, band names can be protected under trademark law,” explains intellectual-property attorney Wesley Lewis.

“It’s about who is first to use a name. Audience size is irrelevant,” says Bob Celestin, a longtime music attorney who’s represented Pusha T and Missy Elliott. “And the question is, does the original Lady A have a trademark registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office? . . .
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