'Deeply sorry' Lady Antebellum changes name due to associations with slavery: 'We have been awakened'

·Editor in Chief, Yahoo Music

After 14 years and eight album releases, Grammy-winning country trio Lady Antebellum has officially changed its name, dropping the “Antebellum” due to “associations that weigh down this word referring to the period of history before the Civil War, which includes slavery.” From now on, the band will officially go by its longtime nickname, Lady A. 

The Antebellum South was a period in U.S. history, from the late 18th century until the start of the Civil War in 1861, which was marked by the region’s economic growth largely due to a reliance on slave labor. In a heartfelt statement posted on Instagram Thursday morning and signed by members Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood, and Charles Kelley, the group explained that “after much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of [their] closest black friends and colleagues” during the weeks of protest following George Floyd’s death, they realized that their band name — which they explained was naively inspired by the Southern home where they shot their first promotional photos — was no longer appropriate.

In their post, the band members apologized “for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued,” stressing, “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 further admitted, “We can make no excuse for our lateness to this realization. What we can do is acknowledge it, turn from it and take action.” The band pledged to donate to the Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama-based non-profit that works to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment and racial inequality, through the group’s own charitable organization, LadyAID. The band promised that this is just the first of many steps they will take in their mission to "practice antiracism."

“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 and generations to come,” Lady A wrote. Read the band’s full statement below:

Dear Fans,

As a band, 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.

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. 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. 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.

We understand that many of you ask the question, “Why have you not made this change until now?” The answer is that we can make no excuse for our lateness to this realization. But we can do is acknowledge it, turn from it and take action.

We feel like we have been awakened, but this is just one step. 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. We will continue to educate ourselves, have hard conversations and search the parts of our hearts that need pruning — to grow into better humans, better neighbors. Our next outward step will be a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative through LadyAID. 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.

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