Lady Antebellum have been accused of "lying to the American public" by Lady A.
The country group announced a few weeks ago they were changing their name to that of the blues singer in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, as the word Antebellum has associations to slavery in the US, and have now launched legal action against the solo artist over their shared moniker, asking for a declaration that they aren’t infringing on a trademark in using the name.
The legal action claimed Lady A – whose real name is Anita White – "demanded a $10m payment" from them, and so she has claimed the action was taken to make her "look bad", even though she planned to donate half the sum to charity and use the rest to rebrand herself.
She fumed: "They do this to make me look bad, like I’m just out for the money. I didn’t need their money before. I have a job that I’m retiring from, and I have music that I do.
"My life was happy before I met them. I do community work. You need to understand if you’re going to be an ally, you need to speak up bravely about what is going on.
"And if they’re saying they’re an ally, they are lying to the American public.
"I have worked hard to get where I am. I didn’t have all the accoutrements, all the lawyers or anything like that. Everything I had, I made myself with the help of a few people who loved me, who supported me and believed in me…
"Am I an angry black woman? I’m angry because of the lack of consideration for me and my people.
"Like I said, this isn’t just about me. I didn’t ask for that money just for me. If I give up my name or share my name, I’d be a sellout to my people."
Anita spoke to Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott about the group’s proposed name change and warned her there would still be racist connotations but claimed the singer had no response.
She added to Rolling Stone magazine: "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.
"Hillary kept calling my producer in Jackson, Mississippi wanting to talk to me. Finally I said, ‘O.K., I’ll talk to her.’
"When I talked to her, she immediately went into tears. She was apologising saying she didn’t mean to cause any harm.
"I asked about changing the name to Lady A and told her it still has the same racist connotation since it’s just an abbreviation. How do you change that, I’d asked, and she never answered."
The singer wanted the group to change their name completely, which would prove they are true "allies".
She said: "I still need to talk to my attorney. The ideal situation right now would be for them to change their name.
"If they are in fact allies, they have the resources, they have the money, they can change their name. It wouldn’t cost them a dime.
"We have to remember the reason for the name change. If that wasn’t the true reason for the name change, none of this makes sense."