Lady A is a country music trio who have become more and more famous in its 14 years of performing. However, the band has been known up until now as Lady Antebellum, with the name change announced only recently. Many have been curious as to know what the word Antebellum means, and why it has caaused such controversy.
What does Antebellum mean?
Antebellum is known for its link to the pre-Civil War era South in the USA.
The word is often paired with the era, and references a period in the history of the USA in the late 18th century until the start of the American Civil War in 1861.
During the antebellum period, the wealth of the South grew exponentially, largely due to the slave trade, which had significant political influence on the government.
During this time, the rise of the anti-slavery movement and abolitionists caused civil unrest in the country, with the South being greatly in favour of slavery due to the way in which it helped grow their economy.
The band, now known as Lady A, however, spoke of how they chose this word for their bandname after doing a photo shoot in historical costumes at antebellum houses, which spoke of a particular time in history which many would wish to forget.
The band released a statement, which reads: “As musicians, it reminded us of all the music born in the South that influenced us
“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.”
Lady A is the nickname the band’s fans have given it for many years, so they felt this was a more appropriate new name.
The band explained in its statement, posted to Twitter: “We’ve watched and listened more than ever over 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 every day.
“Now, blindspots we didn’t even know existed have been revealed.”
Lady A added: “We can make no excuse for our lateness to this realization. What we can do is acknowledge it, turn from it and take action.”
Lady A is not the first music group or label to change its name in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.
British record label One Little Indian Records, which has released music by Bjork, Sigur Ros and Paul McCartney, changed its name to One Little Independent.
It was founded and is managed by punk rock bassist Derek Birkett of former UK punk band Flux of Pink Indians.
He wrote in a statement: “Following the receipt of an eye-opening letter from a Crass fan that detailed precisely why the logo and label name are offensive, as well as the violent history of the terminology, I felt equally appalled and grateful to them for making me understand what must be changed.”
He went on to explain that the label had been founded when his friends were inspired by the ‘philosophies of the Indigenous People of the Americas,’ adding: “I was naive enough at the time of founding my label to think that the name and logo was reflective of my respect and appreciation of the culture.
“I recognise now that both contribute to racism and should have been addressed a long, long time ago.”
Along with his admission, the Grammy awards, as well as label Republic Records, which releases music by singer Ariana Grande, have dropped the use of the word ‘urban’ in their music categories.
Tyler, the Creator, a Grammy winner, said of the term in January: “I don’t like that ‘urban’ word – it’s just a politically correct way to say the N-word to me. Why can’t we just be in pop?”