June started to heat up the US. The American population took the streets to protest against police racism. George Floyd’s death by a policeman from Minneapolis (Minnesota) became a trigger to make more than thirty US cities and the whole world to take action. The #blacklivesmatter was the new fight.
The story of the country-pop group most known in the US is in the middle of this entire bustle: Lady Antebellum, well-known now as Lady A, decided to change their name in order to clean the racist connotations of it but, because of this action, they ended in a tiny misunderstood issue.
Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood formed Lady Antebellum fourteen years ago in Nashville (Tennessee). In 2008 they reached national fame with the song “I Run To You”, and, a year after, they sneaked into the top charts of half-world with “Need You Now”.
Since then, these three compositors of country-pop songs have won seven Grammy Awards and they have sold millions of copies of their eight studio album. The last one was “Ocean”, born last November.
The origin of the anecdote resides in its beginnings. On more than one occasion, the members of the band have told how hard it was to find a name for the group: “We were taking pictures outside an Antebellum home in Nashville and we were searching for a name,” Charles Kelley said to The Cheyenne Post a year ago. “We were going to call ourselves something like Springdale, or something, but names are so hard to come up with. I was like man that’s a beautiful Antebellum house, and that’s cool, maybe there’s a haunted ghost or something in there like Lady Antebellum. We all thought it sounded cool like southern rock, and there was a southern rock kind of song we had written, and The Beatles was taken so…”
The architecture style Antebellum is characteristic in the Deep South of the US, all the states between Texas and Oklahoma and Occidental Virginia and Florida. Like its name says, Antebellum refers to “prewar” (from Latin “ante” (before) “bellum” (war)). All these buildings were built during this period, between the American Revolution and the American Civil War. “Antebellum” style is distinguished by its neoclassical style. It uses huge pillars at the outside part, which hold a hipped or gabled roof that creates a porch in the entrance of the mansion. On the inside, it is easy also to find the neoclassical style of Antebellum in the friezes and marbles use. In Antebellum buildings, there are also huge lobbies with large stairs and big salons. In movies like “Gone With The Wind”, “The Notebook” or “Dear John” this type of edification can be seen:
The fact that the word “Antebellum” refers to a period when the secession and Civil War appeared in the US with all the slavery issues, Lady Antebellum decided to take action: “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”, wrote on Instagram, last June 11th who are now found in social media and Spotify as Lady A, a name that their fans used to use to know them. “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.”
However, their decision seemed to be not the right one. Soon after the announcement, on the other side of the country, the singer Anita White expressed his disagreement in her Instagram account: “How can you say Black Lives Matter and put your knee on the neck of another Black artist? I'm not mad… I am however not giving up my name, my brand I worked hard for.” The thing was that the blues singer was using Lady A as her professional brand.
The misunderstood issue did not go any further. The group reunited soon after that with the singer and they agreed to use the same name: “Today, we connected privately with the artist Lady A. Transparent, honest, and authentic conversations were had. We are excited to share we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground. The hurt is turning into hope. More to come”, posted the group Lady A in their Instagram profile.
Today, we connected privately with the artist Lady A. Transparent, honest, and authentic conversations were had. We are excited to share we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground. The hurt is turning into hope. More to come. #LadyABluesSoulFunkGospelArtist #TheTruthIsLoud @ladya_bluesdiva @dexter_allen_entertainment @oliveriiijohn
At the expense of new news, this anecdote has only seemed a little bump in the road, like they sing in "Compass" song, for the Nashville group. They tried to improve their impact and image cleaning the racism of their name and, without intention, hindered another singer. Some people criticize the fact that in fourteen years Scott, Kelley, and Haywood have not noticed that “Antebellum” wasn’t an appropriated name. But, life is learning from mistakes, and the new Lady A group is ready to keep growing, improving, and betting for unity with their music.