With apologies for any hurt caused by their name, they have forever become Lady A.
In a change that signals a great cultural shift in America at the same time Confederate statues and monuments are literally being pulled down, the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum announced a startling change. Yesterday on Twitter, the three members of the group, Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, announced that they were oblivious to the full impact of their usage of this word when they first chose it, but have since learned.
“As a band,” they wrote, “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.”
The original choice of this name, they explained, “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 band sai.
“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.”
It’s a move causing a lot of attention throughout our country, resulting in millions seeking the definition of this arcane word. The top trending Google search yesterday, sought by over two million people, was
“what does Antebellum mean?”
The answer is that it’s a word derived from Latin which means, literally, before the war. It can apply to any war, but in America has long represented the period before the Civil War, when slavery was still alive and well in the South. The group explained that they connected to the word as it was applied to architecture, referring to the grand Southern estates built before the war.
But many have long expressed that the word cannot be separated from the brutal inhumanity of slavery, andd that a time for cultural reckoning in this country has come, of which this is one example.
Forever now known as Lady A, the band announced it will make a donation through its own LadyAID charity fund to the Equal Justice Initiative. Founded in 1989, according to their website, “the Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.”
“We can be better allies to those suffering from spoken and unspoken injustices,” wrote the group in their statement, “while influencing our children and generations to come.”