FILE - This Oct. 16, 2019 file photo shows Dave Haywood, from left, Hillary Scott, and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum at 2019 CMT Artists of the Year in Nashville, Tenn. The group is changing their name to Lady A, saying they are regretful for not taking into consideration the word's associations with slavery. They said in recent weeks, their eyes have been opened to “blindspots we didn’t even know existed” and “the injustices, inequality and biases black women and men have always faced.”
Photo: Photo by Al Wagner/Invision/AP, FIle
Photo: Photo by Al Wagner/Invision/AP, FIle

Lady Antebellum changes name to Lady A due to the connection of ‘antebellum’ to slavery

Lady Antebellum, one of the most popular country music groups of this generation, has dropped Antebellum from its name due to the association with the pre-Civil War era and slavery.

The Grammy-winning trio, which features Georgians Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley, will now be known as Lady A, a beloved nickname that has already been used regularly by fans. 

“When we set out together almost 14 years ago, we named our band after the Southern ‘Antebellum’ style where we took our first photo,” the trio noted on social media Thursday. “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. We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused.”

The band said it could have done so sooner but acknowledged the recent protests pushed them to make it. 

“We feel like we have been awakened, but this is just one step,” they wrote. “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 antiracism.”

The group has been a consistent hit maker on the country charts since its debut album in 2008. All seven of its regular release albums have gone top two on the Billboard country album charts. They have generated 10 No. 1 country airplay singles including crossover hit “Need You Now,” a smash in 2009 that hit No. 2 on the Billboard Top 100 singles. 

Over the years, they have pocketed dozens of awards, from the CMTs to the American Music Awards to the CMAs. 

“I think it was a good move,” said Scott Lindy, former program director for both Atlanta’s 94.9/The Bull and what was Kicks 101.5 and is now New Country 101.5. “They obviously never intended any ill will by using the term antebellum but have clearly started thinking differently about the word.” He compared their branding evolution to Federal Express becoming FedEx and Kentucky Fried Chicken becoming KFC. 

And though the trio consists of two men and a woman, making the name Lady Antebellum a bit incongruous, Lindy believes the oddball band name just made them stand out when they were starting out. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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