Country music trio, Lady A, has gained massive popularity over the last fourteen years and while the initial name of the band was Lady Antebellum, they have decided to change it. People want to know why they have made such a decision now and why the word Antebellum is considered offensive.
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The word has its roots in the pre-Civil War era. It originated in the South of the United States, a diverse region where racism against black people was considered quite normal. So the word is linked to that era which is often considered one of the most ignorant periods in US history. So during the antebellum period, the black community was mistreated with practices like slavery, and human trade was considered quite normal.
The economy of the South grew as merchants and traders did not have to pay their servants and this further increased the marginalization of the black people. The band members say that they coined the name of the band after conducting a photoshoot in the houses that were part of the antebellum era, a chapter of history that many black folks would much rather forget.
They said that the culture in the South was diverse and “as musicians, it reminded us of all the music born in the South that influenced us”. However, they acknowledge that they made a mistake by undermining the sufferings of the black community by choosing this name to celebrate a culture that was maligned with slavery.
“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,” the band said.
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The nickname, Lady A, was already used by a lot of fans so they have decided to officially adopt it. The post on Twitter said, “We can make no excuse for our lateness to this realization. What we can do is acknowledge it, turn from it and take action.” Along with Lady A, British record label One Little Indian Record has also changed its name to One Little Independent.
The manager, Derek Birkett, said “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.”
It is good to see that artists and bands have realized how important it is to recognize racism and actively opposing it instead of making excuses is the only way forward.