Thursday, June 11, 2020
– Lady Antebellum has changed its name to Lady A in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and protests in the U.S. about the treatment of African-Americans.
The trio of Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelly made the announcement via social media. The reaction on Twitter was mixed. The decision comes a day after NASCAR banned the use of confederate flags at its races.
Antebellum comes from a Latin word meaning "before war" and is a term often associated with the pre-Civil War south.
The post said,
As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refugee...inclusive of all. We've watched and listened more than ever these last few weeks,, and our hearts have been stirred with conviction, our eyes opened wide to the injustices, inequality and biases black women and men have always faced and continue to face everyday."
"No, blind spots we didn't even know existed have been revealed," the band added. "After much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest black friends and colleagues, we have decided to drop the word 'antebellum' from our name and move forward as Lady A, the nickname our fans gave us almost from the start."
"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. "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."
"We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued. Causing pain was never our hearts' intention, but it doesn't change the fact that indeed, it did just that," they wrote. "So today, we speak up and make a change. We hope you will dig in and join us."
"We understand that many of you may ask the question 'why have you not made this change until now?' The answer is that we can make no excuse for our lateness to this realization. What we can do is acknowledge it, turn from and take action."
"We feel like we have been awakened, but this is just one step. There are countless more than need to be taken. We want to do better. We are committed to examining our individual and collective impact and making the necessary changes to practice antiracism."
"We will continue to educate ourselves, have hard conversations and search the parts of our hearts that need pruning - to grow into better humans, better neighbors," they said. "Our next outward step will be a donation to the equal justice initiative through Ladyaid. Our prayer is that if we lead by example...with humility, love, empathy and action...we can be better allies to those suffering from spoken and unspoken injustices, while influencing our children and generations to come."
The reaction on Twitter was mixed.
Fellow artist Mickey Guyton, one of the few African-Americans in country, tweeted four purple hearts."
Singer Adia Victoria tweeted, "thank y'all for taking this step! thank you for using your platform to express much-needed empathy!"
Jim Shearer tweeted, "You're currently receiving a one-man standing ovation from me! You absolutely don't lose anything from the name change. Every time I hear Lady A, I'll think of you taking a stand for something that's right. For a country act, this is pure punk rock!"
Not everyone was happy. "This is getting more and more ridiculous by the hour," tweeted Andrew Brown.
"I always felt conflicted listening to a band who's name literally translated to Lady Slavery. Especially knowing how instrumental white women are to ensuring white supremacist ideals continued," tweeted a person with the handle mmmhhmm'Baku.
"You guys are the "Karens" of country music....," tweeted Graham Allen, host of the "Dear America Podcast."
DeAnna Lorraine, a former Congressional candidate against House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said, "I was excited to go to your show this year and now you've lost a fan for life. Groveling to the BLM mob for a freakin non-offensive word. You guys are sick."