Anita "Lady A" White says she is "not going to be erased" after the country band, formerly known as Lady Antebellum, changed their name to "Lady A" and sued her. White has been performing as Lady A since 1987, and is now embroiled in a lawsuit with the musical trio, composed of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and David Haywood, over the moniker.
"I think they always knew what they were gonna do," White tells Vulture in an interview published Thursday. "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."
"Five million dollars is nothing, and I’m actually worth more than that, regardless of what they think," she states. "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."
The Nashville singers filed a lawsuit against White on Wednesday for allegedly attempting "to enforce purported trademark rights in a mark that Plaintiffs have held for more than a decade," according to the lawsuit.
The band changed their name on June 11, after reflecting on the Black Lives Matter movement and the ties the word "antebellum" had to America's history of racism and slavery. The group reached out to White last month, and according to the lawsuit, they had productive conversations about both continuing to use the name, until White's new counsel allegedly "delivered a draft settlement agreement that included an exorbitant monetary demand." In a statement to ET, the group says White demanded $10 million.
White says that the first contract the band sent her, on June 30, "had no substance," claiming that it said they would coexist, and the group 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," she notes. When asked about the $10 million in the latest draft her attorney sent on July 3, White explains that it was a request for the necessary resources to support herself and the Black community.
She would use $5 million to rebrand and start over as an artist with more than a 20-year career, without the label and management that the country band has. The other $5 million, she says, would be donated to charities of her choice, including those that provide support to other independent Black artists.
"You don’t get to just come and take because you have that privilege," White tells the publication. "We don’t have that luxury or that privilege, so we need somebody to help us and lift us up."