Lady Antebellum, the popular country music trio from Nashville, have officially changed their name to Lady A. The rebranding comes as the media and entertainment industries — along with the rest of the country — are being forced to face decades of racial inequality, insensitivity, and prejudice in the wake of nationwide protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis police.
Strictly meaning “before the war,” the word “antebellum” has come to refer to the pre-Civil War period of the South. In other words, a time when America was built on the foundation of slavery.
In a statement, the band members — Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood, and Charles Kelley — acknowledged that changing their name 14 years into their career could beg the question of what took so long. “The answer is that we can make no excuses for our lateness to this realization,” they wrote. “What we can do is acknowledge it, turn from it and take action.”
The group said they’d undertaken “much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest black friends and colleagues” before reaching the decision to switch their name to “the nickname our fans gave us almost from the start.” They continued with an explanation about why they initially chose Lady Antebellum and what finally brought them to realize a change was needed:
“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. 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. So today, we speak up and make a change. We hope you will dig in and join us.”
In addition to promising to put in the work to “grow into better humans, better neighbors,” Lady A has pledged to make a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative through their Ladyaid charity organization. “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.” Read their full statement below.
For a list of just some of the other organizations you can donate to to support the fight for social justice and equality, head here.