jefferson-santos-fCEJGBzAkrU-unsplash-1Change is necessary if we hope to grow, if recent events have taught us anything, but change can at times be difficult for practical and commercial reasons. Names are freighted with meaning and sown into our consciousness with time and repetition, and it's impossible to simply remove negative connotations while keeping the positives, and thus names have to be changed entirely. It's difficult for some, surely, but necessary to move forward, although the growth process might not be aided by further mistakes made while trying to change.

The country music group Lady Antebellum made such a decision, deciding that it was the right moment to move off of the "antebellum" part of their name. For those not up on their Latin, "antebellum" would translate to "before war", and in an American context refers to the pre-Civil War South. It's not hard to see how that would be problematic, in this or any moment, and so the band decided to shorten their name to Lady A, a name they insisted their fans had been using for years anyway.

Unsurprisingly, it turns out there is another artist named Lady A, a 61-year old blues singer named Anita White who had been using the moniker for decades and was nonplussed about the band's decision to use the name, to say the least. Now the singer and the band find themselves in a trademark lawsuit after negotiations over the name fell apart.

Lady A the band have filed the suit against Lady A the singer seeking a judgment to declare their trademarked uses of Lady A as not infringing upon any trademarks owned by Anita White. The band insists that it was never their intent to claim exclusivity over the name, simply to find an amenable sharing agreement, and claim talks broke down over a requested $10 million payment for the name to White.

USA Today notes that a search of the USPTO database turns up a Lady A trademark belonging to a Lady A Entertainment LLC out of Tennessee, which is presumably among the band's business holdings. Nevertheless, it is perhaps not the best look for a white country group to force a Black woman off of the name she's used for two decades, particularly when the change was precipitated by a desire to remove yourself from the racist connotations of your previous name. If the band is serious about changing and being more aware, this may be a test case for how much they're willing to sacrifice towards those ends.

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