In June, the band — previously known as Lady Antebellum — changed their name “after much personal reflection” and conversations with “closest Black friends” because the word “Antebellum” refers to a period of time “which includes slavery,” they said.
A blues singer from Seattle, Wash., however, had already been using the name for more than two decades.
Now, the country trio is taking legal action, according to Billboard, after the blues singer — whose name is Anita White — has allegedly made an “attempt to enforce purported trademarks rights in a mark that Plaintiffs have held for more than a decade,” per the suit, which was obtained by the outlet.
Additionally, the suit — which was filed on Wednesday in Nashville’s U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee — reportedly alleges that White and her representation “delivered a draft settlement agreement that included an exorbitant monetary demand.” The outlet reported that $10 million was the amount requested, per a statement Billboard obtained from the band.
“Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended,” the statement said. “She and her team have demanded a $10 million payment, so reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that we need to ask a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A, a trademark we have held for many years.”
According to Billboard, the suit claims that the group has been using both monikers — Lady Antebellum and Lady A — interchangeably since around 2006 or 2007, and that in July 2011, they registered Lady A with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with no opposition.
“Prior to 2020, White did not challenge, in any way, Plaintiffs’ open, obvious, and widespread nationwide and international 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 claims, per the outlet.
A day after the name change was announced last month, Rolling Stone published an interview with White, 61, who criticized the reasoning behind the change.
“This is my life. Lady A is my brand, I’ve used it for over 20 years, and I’m proud of what I’ve done,” she said.
White continued: “This is too much right now. They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time. If it mattered, it would have mattered to them before. It shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to realize that their name had a slave reference to it.”
The singer went on to say that “it’s an opportunity for them to pretend they’re not racist or pretend this means something to them.”
“If it did, they would’ve done some research. And I’m not happy about that. You found me on Spotify easily — why couldn’t they?” White asked the outlet.
According to the blues singer, the band didn’t reach out to her before making the switch, which she called a display of “pure privilege.”
“I’m not going to lay down and let this happen to me,” she added. “But now the burden of proof is on me to prove that my name is, in fact, mine, and I don’t even know how much I’ll have to spend to keep it.”
At the time, a rep for the band told Rolling Stone that the trio was not aware of White and that they also planned on reaching out to her. And the following week, the group revealed that they, in fact, had reached out.
“Today, we connected privately with the artist Lady A,” the band wrote on Instagram along with a screenshot of a video chat. “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.”
Reps for both artists have not responded to Fox News’ requests for comment.
Fox News’ Mariah Haas and Jessica Napoli contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.