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11 June 2020, 17:25
Lady Antebellum today made a surprising announcement that they will be changing the band's name to Lady A, with immediate effect.
The band made the decision to drop the word "antebellum" due to its "association with slavery".
Lady A said they originally named the band "after the southern 'antebellum'-style home where we took our first photos" but are now "embarrassed" that the word refers to a period of history before the Civil War, "which includes slavery".
"Antebellum" is a word derived from the Latin phrase "ante bellum," which literally means "before the war".
The term dates back to the 1840s and became associated with the pre-Civil War era.
The Cambridge dictionary gives the definition of antebellum as: "relating to the time before a war, especially the American Civil War."
Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott made the news on their social media today (June 11).
The band's full statement, posted to Instagram in white writing on a brown background, read: "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 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 neighbours. 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 and generations to come."