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Lady A, the Singer, Claims Band ‘Used Wealth and Influence to Bully Me,’ Says ‘Co-Existence Will Not Work’ – Variety

Singer Anita White, also known as Lady A, released a statement over the weekend saying that the country group of the same name — formerly known as Lady Antebellum — “has used their wealth and influence to intimidate and bully me into submission without offeri…

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Singer Anita White, also known as Lady A, released a statement over the weekend saying that the country group of the same name — formerly known as Lady Antebellum — “has used their wealth and influence to intimidate and bully me into submission without offering any real recompense for appropriating my name.”
Says White, “It is now clear that their apologies, friendly texts, and playing on my love of God were just insincere gestures aimed at quieting me. Well, I will not be quiet any longer.”
White had made her views clear earlier in the week in interviews with Vulture and Rolling Stone, but the 790-word statement represents her first full expression of her feelings about the breakdown in negotiations with the band in her own words.
Although the group Lady A had sought an agreement in which both artists could freely use the name, the singer Lady A explains why she has resisted that, and says in her statement that “co-existence will simply not work.”
“My fans used to be able to listen to my music on streaming services; now they struggle to find me,” she claims. Initially, White suggested the possibility of separating their identities as “Lady A The Artist” and “Lady A The Band,” but she says now that her latest proposal to the group was that she would adopt a different stage name altogether. And she acknowledges the group’s claim earlier in the week that she asked for $10 million to grant them full rights to use the name, saying she was going to use it in part to re-brand herself and partly for charity.
“I asked for $5 million to compensate me for this loss, and to help me rebuild under a new name,” she writes. “I also asked that they donate $5 million to a charity so that we could work together to promote racial equality. It was my impression from our communications that this would appeal to Hillary, Charles, and Dave. I guess I was wrong. Their refusal to come to an agreement that would be respectful of my work and my rights, however, has given me the clarity and the drive to not back down.”
In mentioning that the band had come to realize that the word “antebellum” had unavoidable connotations with the slavery era, White says that their use of the new name is “only less overtly racist.”
“Given the way that Hillary, Charles, and Dave have treated me,” she writes,  “I am not surprised that they used the name Lady Antebellum for so long or that their cure is to adopt a name that is only less overtly racist. The A in their name stands for Antebellum and always will. If they are truly committed to racial equality, why do they want to maintain that association, especially when it means making a public, intentional stand to disregard me and my rights?  … It is absurd that Lady Antebellum has chosen to show its commitment to racial equality by taking the name of a Black woman, particularly in this time when we are reminded every day to “Say Her Name.” It is one more demonstration of what continues to be taken away from us in the present.”
On July 8, the group Lady A announced that it was suing White in the state of Tennessee, taking pains to say that it was not asking for any monetary damages, but asking the court to declare that both artists could continue using the name without interference or reprisal from the other. Lady A’s attorneys say in the lawsuit that the group had used the shortened version of Lady Antebellum as a nickname in merch and on web pages going back to 2006, had filed for a trademark in 2010 and been granted it in 2011. The band says all this happened without ever hearing from or of Lady A, the Seattle-based blues singer, and says she was obscure enough that she had not come to their attention until after they announced their name change in early June.
Lady A, the group, has taken considerable fire from all sides since announcing the name change. Some country music fans continue to insist there was nothing innately offensive about the term “antebellum,” and many conservatives who thought the group gave in to “virtue signaling” by abandoning the original name are openly enjoying seeing the group take heat from critics on the left, too.
Following is White’s complete statement.
“Black Lives, Names, Experiences, Work, Art – They All Matter.”
July 10, 2020, Seattle, WA
“I first heard about Lady Antebellum’s planned name change after they went public on June 11, 2020, at which point I was shocked and taken aback. During initial calls with the members of the band — Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood — I hoped that we could reach an agreement that left both sides whole. Lady Antebellum understood that their use of ‘Antebellum’ was offensive and that their adoption of Lady A harms me, as I have been using the name professionally for over 30 years.
“Though they recognized their impact, Lady Antebellum has not been receptive to my proposals for correcting their infringement, unfortunately. It has already been demonstrated why co-existence will simply not work. My fans used to be able to listen to my music on streaming services; now they struggle to find me. Due to Lady Antebellum’s massive rebranding efforts, Lady Antebellum has erased me from every platform. Lady Antebellum has used their wealth and influence to intimidate and bully me into submission without offering any real recompense for appropriating my name. It is now clear that their apologies, friendly texts, and playing on my love of God were just insincere gestures aimed at quieting me. Well, I will not be quiet any longer.
“After being called out for taking my name, Lady Antebellum and their team of publicists and attorneys are doing what many folks of privilege do when asked to cease and desist bad behavior. Hillary, Charles, and Dave are attempting to change the narrative by minimizing my voice and belittling my experience as an artist — as if having a lot of money gives them permission to tread on my rights. I have worked too long and too hard to just give my name away.
“The band’s decision to change their name to Lady A follows the trend of many other groups and organizations working to distance themselves from racism in the wake of the uprisings in this post-George Floyd world. Someone finally told them — or perhaps they knew all along and didn’t care until now — that their name reminds Black folks of just how much was taken from us in the past: our lives, freedom, languages, families, and, yes, our names. It is absurd that Lady Antebellum has chosen to show its commitment to racial equality by taking the name of a Black woman, particularly in this time when we are reminded every day to ‘Say Her Name.’It is one more demonstration of what continues to be taken away from us in the present. Given the way that Hillary, Charles, and Dave have treated me, I am not surprised that they used the name Lady Antebellum for so long or that their cure is to adopt a name that is only less overtly racist. The A in their name stands for Antebellum and always will. If they are truly committed to racial equality, why do they want to maintain that association, especially when it means making a public, intentional stand to disregard me and my rights?
“Lady A is my identity — and it has been since 1987. I want to be able to freely use my brand that I spent decades building. I do not want to part with it. It is particularly painful to me, as a Black woman, to lose my name in THIS time and place so Lady Antebellum can use it as shorthand to celebrate a time and place connected to and very heavily reliant upon slavery. I asked for $5 million to compensate me for this loss, and to help me rebuild under a new name. I also asked that they donate $5 million to a charity so that we could work together to promote racial equality. It was my impression from our communications that this would appeal to Hillary, Charles, and Dave. I guess I was wrong.
“Their refusal to come to an agreement that would be respectful of my work and my rights, however, has given me the clarity and the drive to not back down. Black lives, names, experiences, work, art — they all matter. Fellow independent artists have reached out to me to share their stories of name feuds that they lost because they were on the opposite side of big money and privilege. Not only will I not be one of them, but I am hopeful that this fight for what is rightfully mine will help those damaged by this type of bullying and erasure in the past, and that it will prevent it from happening in the future. I will not allow Lady Antebellum to obliterate me and my career so they can look ‘woke’ to their fans.”

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‘RHOBH’: Andy Cohen Reacts To Rumors Teddi Mellencamp Was Fired After Business Backlash – Showbiz Cheat Sheet

Teddi Mellencamp confirmed she was leaving ‘RHOBH’ after three seasons. Rumors started swirling that the reason she was let go was do to her business backlash.

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Teddi Mellencamp announced she was leaving The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after three seasons. The accountability coach confirmed the news herself on Instagram with a straight to the point message. Her departure coincided with backlash over her business venture that alleged she put people’s lives at risk. Rumors started swirling that Bravo axed her from the reality series due to the controversy and Andy Cohen is now reacting.
Andy Cohen and Teddi Mellencamp | Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Phot…

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‘America’s Got Talent’ Crowns Season 15 Champion – Billboard

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The results are in. And the winner of Americas Got Talent 2020 isBrandon Leake.
The Stockton, California native blew away the competition and captivated millions with his emotional spoken word pieces throughout the series.
And on Wednesday nights final, he took the season 15 crown.
Leake has performed his inspiring routines around the globe, and scored Howie Mandels Golden Buzzer in an earlier round of AGT.
When the votes were tallied, he placed atop a talented grand final group that was sta…

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‘AGT’: Poet Brandon Leake wins star-studded finale with Duchess Meghan, Blake Shelton – USA TODAY

Brandon Leake has accomplished many firsts on “America’s Got Talent.” The spoken-word poet is the first to compete, and to win.

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Comedian Usama Siddiquee also joked about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, feminism and womens voting rights in his controversial stand-up routine.
USA TODAY
Brandon Leake has accomplished many firsts on Americas Got Talent.
He was the first spoken-word poet to grace the talent competition. And now, Leake is the first poet to win it all after being crowned the Season 15 winner during Wednesday’s live, two-hour season finale.
The Stockton, California, native, 27, has been one of the front-runn…

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