The country band formerly known as Lady Antebellum – which changed its name to Lady A over concerns that the old name was racist – has reached a settlement to end a legal dispute with a black Seattle blues singer who said she had long used the shortened name.
In a motion filed Monday in Nashville federal court, both the country trio and Anita White asked a federal judge to dismiss their dueling lawsuits permanently. The terms of the agreement, including who can continue to use what name or if any money changed hands, were not made public.
Lady Antebellum switched to Lady A in June 2020 in the wake of protests against racism and police violence, citing criticism that the name glorified the slavery-era South. The band said the name had not been intended as racist, but that they had had their “eyes opened” by recent events.
Just one problem: White said she had used the exact same name since the 1980s, performing as “Lady A” thousands of times at concerts and festivals across the country. White, a black woman, called the band’s adoption of her long-standing name an example of “pure privilege.”
The band sued White in 2020 after she rebuffed early requests for a settlement that both groups could use the name. The country band argued it had used the abbreviation as a nickname for years, and “simply wish that the parties continue to coexist.”
White quickly fired back with a countersuit accusing the band of trademark infringement, claiming it 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 wrote. “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.”
Neither side immediately returned requests for comment on the end of the case.