This Massive Country Band Is Changing Its Slavery-Based Name
George Floyd's murder has sparked a cultural shift, leading this popular band to change its name.
The cultural shift that has come about as a result of George Floyd's murder and the civil unrest that's followed can only be described as a national reckoning on race. And the effects of this reckoning can be seen both on a massive scale and in other smaller ways as well. Earlier this week, NASCAR announced that no Confederate flags would be allowed at their races, and now one of the biggest bands in country music is changing its name: The band formerly known as Lady Antebellum is now going by the moniker "Lady A."
In a lengthy announcement on Twitter, the country music trio—made up of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood—noted how they've "watched and listened more than ever these last few weeks," and their eyes are "opened wide to the injustices, inequality, and biases Black women and men have always have faced." Citing "blindspots [they] didn't know even existed," the group announced the decision to drop "Antebellum" from their name, and move forward as "Lady A," a nickname their fans have long called them.
Antebellum means "before the war," and is widely associated with the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865), which was, of course, centered on slavery. The band admitted that they were "regretful and embarrassed" to say they did not take into account the associations that come with the word "referring to the period of history before the Civil War, which includes slavery." They go on to say, "We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued."
Here is Lady A's entire statement below:
As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge…inclusive of all. We've watched and listened more than ever these last few weeks, and our 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 everyday. 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.
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…Southern rock, blues, R&B, gospel and of course country. 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 that this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued. Causing pain was never our hearts' intention, but it doesn't change the fact that indeed, it did just that. So today, we speak up and make a change. We hope you will dig in and join us.
We understand that many of you may ask the question "Why have you not made this change until now?" The answer is that we can make no excuse for our lateness to this realization. What we can do is acknowledge it, turn from it and take action.
We feel like we have been awakened, but this is just one step. 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 and generations to come.
Hillary, Charles & Dave
And for more on the changes the recent protests have led to, check out 8 Changes That Have Happened Since Black Lives Matter Protests Started.