Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood announced today (June 11) on social media that they're shortening the name of their award-winning country group Lady Antebellum to Lady A, a nickname used over the years by fans and peers.
Antebellum means "occurring or existing before a particular war, especially the American Civil War," causing concerns about racial insensitivity.
"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," reads a statement shared on Twitter. "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."
The name change follows "much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest black friends and colleagues."
"As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge ... inclusive of all," the newly rechristened Lady A wrote. "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. 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."
Lady A's reaction to the senseless murder of George Floyd and other recent headlines inspired more than a shortening of its name. The trio is also making a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative through its LadyAID charity fund.
"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," the Nashville-based group adds.