Country group Lady Antebellum ‘prayerfully’ changes name in solidarity with racial equality
Grammy Award-winning country trio Lady Antebellum announced Thursday that they were changing their name to Lady A due to the word antebellum's association with slavery in the south.
The term “Antebellum South” was birthed in the plantation era. Although the word Antebellum is Latin for before war, the band said their decision to change their name came from the word's association to slavery in North America.
“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,” the band wrote on social media.
They added: “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.”
The term Antebellum South began as slavery persisted in the 17th and 18th centuries in North America. The group adopted the name in reference to an antebellum-style home that was the location of their first photoshoot as a trio. At the time, the phrase reminded them of "all the music born in the south that influenced" them as musicians, but now their understanding of the history of the word has led them to make the change.
“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,” the band wrote.
“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 anti-racism,” Lady A continued. “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 group took their stance to the next step and have set up LadyAID to make a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative.
“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 & generations to come,” they concluded.