Lady Antebellum Changes Band Name After 14 Years As A Group Amidst Black Lives Matter Movement
Recognizing that their name is associated with slavery, country music group Lady Antebellum announced they’re rebranding themselves as their part to ‘do better.’
“As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge…inclusive of all,” wrote the band now formerly known as Lady Antebellum at the start of the June 11 statement that announced their name change. The country music group – consisting of Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood, and Charles Kelley – said that they will now be known as Lady A after their “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 every day. Now, blindspots we didn’t even know existed have been revealed.
“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,” the band continued. “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… 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.”
“We feel like we have been Awakened, but this is just one step,” the band continued. “There are countless more that 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. 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 & generations to come.”
Though the literal Latin translation of “antebellum” means “after the war,” as the band noted, the term has become widely associated with the pre-Civil War south. “I have to give Charles credit for the band name,” Hillary said in a 2017 interview with the Aiken Standard. “He and Dave called me on speakerphone when we were trying to nail down a name, and I was like, ‘So, are y’all OK with being in a band named ‘Lady Antebellum’?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, it’s really cool.’ I remember thinking, if we get a record deal, that’ll be the first thing to go, but somehow it stuck.”
“Charles had to explain to me what an antebellum home was, that it was a style of architecture,” she added, “because I missed that day in Tennessee history class, but we liked how it sounded. It sounded country, and it had this layer of nostalgia. But once (fans started) calling us ‘Lady A,’ I was like, “Let’s just keep it that way.”
Lady A made its debut in 2006 and quickly rose to the top of the charts. Their first three albums have been certified platinum or higher by the RIAA, and nine of their songs have reached No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs / Country Airplay charts. They’re best known for “Need You Now” and “Just A Kiss.” They’re a multi-Grammy Award-winning group, having won Best Country Album and Record of the Year for 2010’s Need You Now.
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