In Lady A music battle big crushes little when white privilege meets wokeness

By John Ruberry

Up until a few weeks ago the country trio Lady Antebellum barely registered on my radar. While I do enjoy country music my interest is mostly focused on the Americana genre. As for the country music you hear on most FM radio stations, most of it is formulaic garbage, mediocre pop tunes delivered with a drawl. And that is the type of drivel Lady Antebellum delivers. And it’s not just me who feels that way. In 2010–that year will come back soon in this story–a sub-headline on Slate named Lady Antebellum “the world’s dullest band.”

But their name caught my attention. Even before wokeness became a political movement I thought “Lady Antebellum” was an odd choice of a moniker, as it refers to what some Lost Cause of the Confederacy propagandists viewed as the good old days of the pre-Civil War South. On those infrequent occasions when word came up, until very recently, it referred to plantation manor homes, which of course were staffed by slaves and were financed by agricultural goods produced by slaves. Those good old says weren’t good at all.

According to the band they decided on Lady Antebellum after a photo shoot at one of those mansions.

But after the killing of George Floyd and the protests, some of them of violent, Lady Antebellum announced they were now Lady A.

But as you probably heard there is already a Lady A, Seattle blues artist Anita White, who has been using the name for decades. But she isn’t a superstar or even a star. When White spoke up–that should have been the coda of the new name for the artists-formerly-known-as-Lady Antebellum. Their wokeness compelled the name change. They are white and Anita White is black. Their wokeness should have compelled them to brainstorm for yet another name. Now the former Lady Antebellum is suing White to prevent her performing as Lady A.

There was briefly an informal co-existence agreement between the two Lady As after the group’s name change. But that’s not working out. If you type “Lady A” into the search box on iTunes and Spotify, it’s the new Lady A who appears, not the blue singer. The same result comes at at YouTube.

White now wants $10 million from the Lady A trio–with half going to Black Lives Matter and some charities. The ex-Lady Antebellum calls that demand “exorbitant.” The band has possessed the trademark for “Lady A” since 2010. While I’m not going to pretend, as a non-lawyer, to completely understand the legal side of this dispute, the law appears to favor the band.

Even if the law didn’t, the band has significant financial resources that White doesn’t. For her part, she told Entertainment Weekly that she offered a compromise, “I had suggested on the Zoom call [between the band and her] that they go by the Band Lady A, or Lady A the Band, and I could be Lady A the Artist, but they didn’t want to do that.”

There are a number of lessons in this story that exemplify why our society is so messed up.

There has not been heavy coverage of this suit outside of the entertainment media and Seattle news sources despite the race angle. Conservative websites have been reporting on this story. Now imagine if Lady A the Band were conservative Republicans. This battle would be the lead story on CNN and MSNBC. There would be a constant drumbeat of stories from them–and of course the New York Times and the rest of the legacy media, which of course takes its cue from the Times.

Lady A the Artist told Rolling Stone, “They claim to be allies and that they wanted to change their name out of the racist connotation, and then they sue a black woman for the new name.”

So here is more proof for you that the mainstream media is not interested so much in reporting the news but instead advancing their narrative that America is systemically racist–and conservative Republicans even more so.

Let’s talk common sense. Just because something is legal that doesn’t make it moral. Charles Dickens’ character Mr. Bumble phrased it best in Oliver Twist, “If the law supposes that, the law is a ass–a idiot.” Well maybe that’s an overreach, but there are three idiots in Band Lady A.

I support Peter Sagal’s idea. He hosts NPR’s quiz show Wait…Wait…Don’t Tell Me! “There is a simple solution to this problem, though,” he said. “Lady A the Band should just go by Lady A-Hole.”

That works for me.

I just typed “Lady A-Hole” into the iTunes search box. Nothing relevant comes up.

Go for it.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.