Blues and gospel singer Anita White, who has performed as Lady A since the 1980s, has responded to the lawsuit filed against her by the country-music trio Lady A, which recently changed its name from Lady Antebellum to avoid Civil War connotations.
"My fans used to be able to listen to my music on streaming services; now they struggle to find me. Due to ... [the band's] massive rebranding efforts, Lady Antebellum has erased me from every platform," White, who turns 62 on Saturday, said in a statement to Newsday.
She added that the five-time Grammy Award winning music stars had "used their wealth and influence to intimidate and bully me into submission without offering any real recompense for appropriating my name."
White said she had asked for $5 million to give up her decadeslong professional name and for $5 million to go to a charity to promote racial equality.
"It is particularly painful to me, as a Black woman, to lose my name in THIS time and place so Lady Antebellum can use it as shorthand to celebrate a time and place connected to and very heavily reliant upon slavery. … I will not allow Lady Antebellum to obliterate me and my career so they can look 'woke' to their fans."
The band filed the lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday seeking a ruling that their use of the trademark “Lady A" does not infringe on White's use of the same name. The band is not seeking monetary damages.