The band continued, "We never even entertained the idea that she shouldn’t also be able to use the name Lady A, and never will – today’s action doesn’t change that. Instead, we shared our stories, listened to each other, prayed and spent hours on the phone and text writing a song about this experience together. We felt we had been brought together for a reason and saw this as living out the calling that brought us to make this change in the first place."
"We're disappointed that we won’t be able to work together with Anita for that greater purpose. We’re still committed to educating ourselves, our children and doing our part to fight for the racial justice so desperately needed in our country and around the world. We’ve only taken the first small steps and will prioritize racial equality as a key pillar of the work of LadyAID, specifically leaning into supporting and empowering our youth. We hope Anita and the advisers she is now listening to will change their minds about their approach. We can do so much more together than in this dispute."
On June 11, the band announced that they were dropping the "Antebellum" from their name to make it more "inclusive" as the word had associations "referring to the period of history before the Civil War, which includes slavery."
Days later, the group shared on Instagram that they "connected privately" with White after learning how she has been using the name Lady A for decades.
"Transparent, honest, and authentic conversations were had," the band captioned a screenshot from their Zoom call. "We are excited to share we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground. The hurt is turning into hope. More to come."
In the suit, the band's attorneys claims the two parties "discussed various forms of cooperation" to "peacefully coexist" during the Zoom call — including discussions to write a song together — and the group's counsel had prepared a draft agreement to continue to share the Lady A name.
According to the suit, the band’s counsel had prepared a draft agreement including such points as continuing to share the name and supporting White’s musical career.
However, according to the band's attorneys, White then told Newsday she was "not happy" with the agreement and claimed that “their camp is trying to erase me … Trust is important and I no longer trust them.”
White then obtained new counsel following the discussions, and her legal team allegedly delivered a drafted agreement with an "exorbitant monetary demand while maintaining the cooperation and collaboration obligations," according to the filing.
"Paired with White’s public statements, White’s demand for an exorbitant payment in exchange for continued coexistence, notwithstanding the previous absence of discussion of any payment (other than reimbursement of nominal attorneys’ fees), gives rise to imminent controversy, demonstrating a course of action from which a threat of suit could be inferred based on White’s charge of infringement," the suit read.
The band's counsel said in the filing that the group has used Lady A interchangeably with Lady Antebellum as early as 2006 and applied to register Lady A for entertainment purposes — including live musical performances and streaming musical programming — at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2010.
The band later applied to register the name Lady A for musical recordings and clothing, according to the suit, and their applications were all granted without opposition from any person or entity.
The band's attorneys said White "did not oppose" to any of the applications and "has not sought to cancel and of the LADY A registrations."
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"Prior to 2020, White did not challenge, in any way, Plaintiffs' open, obvious, and widespread nationwide and intentional use of the LADY A mark as a source indicator for Plaintiffs' recorded, downloadable, and streaming music and videos, Plaintiffs' live musical performances, or Plaintiffs' sale of souvenir merchandise," the suit read.
The band is not asking for money, according to the suit, but seeking a court declaration that they are lawfully using the Lady A trademark and that the continual usage of the name does not infringe on any trademark rights White may legally hold or her "non-trademark use of 'Lady A' to identify herself as a musical performer."
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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