The Lawsuit Over "Lady A"

Sound & Vision
Hosted by Emily Fox

A legal battle over the name "Lady A" has brought up questions around white privilege and racism in the music industry.


 
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lady a // photo by Dawn Lurcrisia-Johnson

A legal battle over the name "Lady A" has brought up questions around white privilege and racism in the music industry. Amid global protests against police brutality and systemic racism, the country group Lady Antebellum said they would change their name to Lady A. That’s because the word Antebellum, which in Latin translates to “before the war,’ is associated with the US Civil War and the Confederacy. However, there’s already a Lady A. She’s a Black blues singer based in Seattle who’s gone by the name Lady A for more than 20 years. Lady Antebellum, an all-white band is now suing Seattle’s Lady A for the trademark over the name.

Seattle’s Lady A says that since the rebranding of Lady Antebellum to Lady A, her music has become buried on social media and music streaming sites. But she says her fight over her stage name isn’t just about music, it’s about the significance of a name from a historical perspective. She says white people have been taking from Black and Indigenous people for centuries, including their names. “When we came to this country, they [white people] took our names from us and gave us their names,” Lady A says. “This is about every Black, Indigenous person of this land and person of color who has had something taken from them – their land, their artistry, their culture, their language, and their name.”

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