Anita White, The Original “Lady A”, Says Lady Antebellum Are Trying To Make Her Look Like “The Angry Black Woman”
Lady A “will not be erased” by a trio of bougie hillbillies and their high-powered attorneys. Anita White, whose stage name the band Lady A is For Antebellum (red flag #1) tried to snatch up from underneath her nose, has given an interview with Vulture. In it, she says she’s not backing down. Earlier this week we learned that negotiations over who had the right to use Lady A broke down and the band filed a lawsuit against Anita for rights to the name. This came after screenshots from a Zoom meeting between Anita and band members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and David Haywood were posted on Instagram suggesting that they all got together and sang kumbaya or some shit (a Gullah Geechee negro spiritual btw— we give and we give). Well, Anita says it was all bullshit.
According to Vulture:
In her very first conversation with the band, on June 15, when its members — Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood, and Charles Kelley — repeatedly asked to take a picture they could post on social media to show the world how they were “moving forward with positive solutions and common ground,” White could see that they weren’t really concerned about her position as an independent artist. The band wanted to record a song with White, she told me just after the lawsuit was announced, and they wanted to record the process, documentary style, to chronicle the proof that they were nothing like the rest of the country standing on opposite sides of life and liberty, unable or unwilling to meet in the middle. But as they spoke during the negotiations over the last two weeks, White began to realize that any meeting in the middle would result only from her own painstaking strides. The band had already made their splashy statement, declaring newfound wokeness by ceremoniously discarding the latter half of their name. Their declarations of faith were meaningless, White now says, because they never engaged with her in good faith.
“The first contract they sent [on June 30] had no substance,” she explains. “It said that we would coexist and that they would use their best efforts to assist me on social-media platforms, Amazon, iTunes, all that. But what does that mean? I had suggested on the Zoom call that they go by the Band Lady A, or Lady A the Band, and I could be Lady A the Artist, but they didn’t want to do that.”
Vulture reports that as this was all going down, “Lady A” as associated with Anita was “becoming harder to find on Google and streaming platforms alike” and that “her music is sometimes dozens of entries deep, far beneath the country group’s vast catalog.” This is a particular problem at the moment as Anita has a new single coming out next week.
“I attempted to upload my single [on independent distribution service DistroKid] and couldn’t verify my name, Lady A, for several days,” she wrote to me, via email, on June 30. “It finally went through and now I’m just waiting until my July release to see if my single will be buried.”
As for the statement that Hillary (the girl one), Dave (the funny looking one), and Charles (the tall one) released to coincide with their filing of the suit, Anita (NOT the one) says she was made out to look like “the angry Black woman,” and that her request for $10 million was tantamount to extortion, when in fact, it’s quite reasonable.
White says that it was simply a request for the necessary resources to support herself and, perhaps more importantly, the entire Black community. Her plan, she told me, was to use $5 million to rebrand, to start over as an artist with more than 20 years in the game — but without the high-powered label and management machine of a Lady Antebellum. The other $5 million was to be donated to the charities of her choice, including organizations that provide support to other independent Black artists. If the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum was going to vow to support to Black lives, Lady A says, she was going to hold them to it.
“I was quiet for two weeks because I was trying to believe that it was going to be okay and that they would realize that it would be easier to just change their name, or pay me for my name,” White says. “Five million dollars is nothing, and I’m actually worth more than that, regardless of what they think. But here we go again with another white person trying to take something from a Black person, even though they say they’re trying to help. If you want to be an advocate or an ally, you help those who you’re oppressing. And that might require you to give up something because I am not going to be erased.”
Lady A is For Antebellum couldn’t have bungled their half-assed rebranding as Black allies any worse if they tried. First, they came out guns a-blazin’ talking about how their decision to eliminate the “ntebellum” from their name came after much “reflection” and “prayer” with their “closest Black friends and colleagues” (red flag #2). Then, they made sure to say that the name change to Lady A was because it was already the “nickname our fans gave us almost from the start” (red flag #3). I personally suspect they knew Lady A was out there but figured she wouldn’t notice or have the resources to fight because that verbiage is almost identical to that used in their statement since with lawsuit relies heavily on the fact that they had already registered that as a trademark as early as 2006. Pfft. I mean, if anyone of their lawyers filing these trademarks didn’t Google Lady A and see Miss Anita in all her glory, I’ll eat my overpriced Sundance catalog fedora.