Parsing the Avoidable Controversy Sung in the Key of Lady A
I’ll cut to the chase. The battle over the rights to use the name Lady A can be settled in one second. How? By the mega-selling country group admitting their original name was already stupid and hiding behind shortening one word to a single letter is even dumber.
By now you must know the players. The popular country trio that, until recently, went by the name Lady Antebellum, decided to officially shorten their name to Lady A, since the word “antebellum” harks back to the pre-Civil War days of slavery.
Contestant number two is a Seattle-based blues singer named Anita White who is royally pissed since she’s used Lady A professionally for more than 20 years—even before the country band existed.
She wants Lady A, the band, to change its name again since it’s pretty damned confusing to have two Lady A’s on Spotify. You see, the lady, Lady A, says her stuff can’t be found on streaming services like Spotify anymore because when you search for Lady A, the gazillion-selling group with two guys and a lady comes up, basically, as she puts it “erasing” her.
It’s not enough that the band, Lady A is rich and famous, they’re now suing the lady Lady A for the right to use the moniker after conversations between the parties failed to solve the issue. In the suit, the group insists they’ve been using the name as an alternative for years, but not as many as Anita White. They also complain she tried to get them to cough up $10 million to give up the name—money White, told Rolling Stone, “would have been split between herself and donations to Black Lives Matter, a charity for seniors and youth in Seattle, and musicians in need of legal counsel.”
Indeed, the band wants to share the name with the singer. How silly is that? It’s like two companies that make Corn Flakes each calling themselves Kellogg.
The bottom line is “Lady Antebellum” was always a curious name for a group with members named Charles, Hilary and Dave. Now…if Hilary—the lady—was the main lead singer, I could almost see it. But Charles sings lead in almost, maybe more, of their songs. Dave mostly plays guitar and kinda sings a bit of harmony. Were they imagining that two men and a woman together create one “lady?” Think of it as a recipe. Add two parts guy, one part girl and voila! You get a lady? Mon dieu!
Had they given this some real thought the whole situation could have been avoided long ago if they had just chosen a name that makes sense, like, I dunno, “Mixed Gender Antebellum,” or, if they just HAD to have “Lady” in the name, “Lady Reconstruction,” thereby avoiding the inappropriate reference to a period before slavery was abolished. Then they could have shortened it to MGA or Lady R. Not bad, huh? Yeah..bad. The A still stands for antebellum which is the objectionable word in the first one so why try to hide it behind an initial, and the second one is just awful.
In the case of Anita White, the use of the letter A makes perfect sense since it represents her first name, which is not objectionable to anyone.
So former Lady Antebellum, drop it. Here’re your chance to correct your first mistake and find a name that’s more appropriate. Let the artist who had it first keep it, because PR-wise, you get an F, and this whole thing is making you look like group of Lady A-holes.
There was another Lady A I knew of, a blues singer in south Florida.
I figure every town has one.
Roger “Hurricane” Wilson
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How about Charles, Hilary and Dave? Truth in advertising aside, it worked for Peter, Paul and Mary quite well. 😉