By now you have likely heard the story of the legal situation now happening between the country music band formerly known as Lady Anti-BLM Antebellum and the Black woman blues singer who has performed for more than 20 years under the moniker Lady A.

In case you haven’t, here’s the Cliff’s Notes on a situation that demonstrates what happens when performative wokeness devolves into white supremacy:

Last month, when a whole bunch of white people suddenly realized that this country is racist, rooted in racism and engineered by white supremacy, there was a whole lot of performative social media posts, public gesticulating and loud denouncements of racism coupled with strong pronouncements to “do better.”

Advertisement

Among those pronouncements was one from Lady Antebellum, who after 14 years of performing under a name that references the time in America when Black people were enslaved, suddenly discovered that the name had racist connotations.

From Rolling Stone (emphasis mine):

“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 every day. Now, blind spots we didn’t even known existed have been revealed,” they wrote.

“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,” they continued.

The group had originally adopted the problematic name after taking their first photos outside an antebellum home, thinking about the way Southern music had influenced them all as performers. They admit they hadn’t given much thought to the word’s definition and its negative connotations with nostalgic notions of the pre-Civil War South.

Advertisement

I imagine it must be very relaxing to be white and not have to think about or consider such things because they don’t have a negative impact on you.

The group decided that they would shorten their moniker to “Lady A,” but there was one problem: Lady A is a soon-to-be- 62-year-old blues singer out of Seattle who has been performing under that name for more than two decades.

She has released multiple albums under that name, including an upcoming release tomorrow, July 18—which also happens to be her birthday, titled Lady A: Live in New Orleans.

In our first telephone conversation, Lady A told me that she might not have known the name change was even happening were it not for the Rolling Stone writer who called her to discuss it.

Advertisement

She told the magazine that the group had not reached out to her before making their decision, which is ironic considering the alleged point of the whole thing is to show solidarity with Black people. She wondered how it was that Rolling Stone was able to find her on Spotify, yet the band had not done the most basic searches to make sure they weren’t infringing on someone else’s name.

“It’s an opportunity for them to pretend they’re not racist or pretend this means something to them,” she said. “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?”

Advertisement

The group told Rolling Stone that they planned to reach out to Lady A, and they did.

What followed was more performative contrition, a push to get Lady A to validate them and absolve them of their white guilt, and ultimately an exertion of white supremacy via the court system over a Black woman who was not willing to just fold, disappear and give them her name.

Advertisement

I spoke with Lady A again because I wanted her to have a chance to say it with her chest in my unfiltered environment, so she is this week’s special guest on Auntie Unfiltered.

Watch and listen as she explains how the group tried to take over her name and went from being woke to supremely white again when that didn’t work out for them.

Advertisement

As always, I want to hear from you. If you have questions, comments, concerns, if you need advice or if you have a topic you think Auntie should discuss, please hit me up at AuntieSubmissions@theroot.com.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

Not to take away from everything that followed, but “Lady-Anti-BLM” is clever as hell & I felt like it needed to be acknowledged.  

Latest on The Root

Advertisement

Advertisement