Country trio Lady Antebellum dropped “Antebellum” from its name Thursday, per a social media post from the Grammy Award-winning group.
The trio behind hits “Need You Now” and “Bartender” now identifies as “Lady A,” renouncing the term used particularly to describe existing before the American Civil War.
In a statement posted to social media, the band — featuring members Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood — said that when Lady A formed 14 years ago, the group didn’t consider the pre-Civil War “associations that weigh down this word,” including ties to slavery.
“We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued,” the statement said. “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.”
There’s “no excuse” for the making this decision after nearly a decade-and-a-half career, the post continued. The band acknowledged its “lateness” to change, writing that “this is just one step” in addressing systemic racism.
The group said it would be donating to Equal Justice Initiative via LADYAID, a nonprofit organization launced by Lady A in 2012.
“We are committed to examining our individual and collective impact and making the necessary changes to practice antiracism,” the statement said. “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.”
The decision to drop “Antebellum” comes as protesters nationwide continue to call for systemic changes toward racial equality. Demonstrations against racial inequality reignited in late May, following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, in Minneapolis. Floyd died after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed a knee into his neck for more than eight minutes.
Full statement from Lady A
“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 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.”
Dear fans… pic.twitter.com/7JlcH2NMl6
— Lady A (@ladya) June 11, 2020