Back in June, as the Black Lives Matter movement spread across the United States, Lady Antebellum announced that the’ve officially shortened their name to Lady A.
Band mates Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood explained the origins of their decision to use “Antebellum” — which references the pre-Civil War era in the American South — in their moniker at the time. “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,” they wrote in a statement. “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…which includes slavery.”
On Monday (Dec. 21), the trio joined Tamron Hall for their first TV conversation since the name change. “The heart of our decision still rings true today as much as it did back in June when we made this announcement,” Scott explained. “I mean we want our music, and our live shows and, you know, anything that we’re a part of, for everyone to feel welcome and invited. And we realized, you know, over the summer I think not touring and watching just this movement happen that is so needed in this country and around the world, we started to see what our part was, what part of our first steps and making a difference could be. And so our name changing was the first step…but you never know how things are going to happen and we never saw that coming.”
The band faced criticism following their decision, not only for choosing a name that a veteran blues singer was using for years, but also for waiting until 12 years after their debut album to make the switch. “I think the word to me that resonates most this year has been blind-spot. And I think I am so guilty of…I didn’t think about it,” Kelly explained. “You know, we came up with the name thinking about the Antebellum home…I don’t know it’s so naive now looking back, but I think, as we’ve grown up, we all have kids now. I mean why now? Well, we’re a lot older, we look at the world a lot different. You know we’re trying to leave the world a little bit better too for our kids and the next generation. And we want to be a part of change. We knew this was going to be difficult. We knew we were going to alienate a lot of fans, you know we didn’t see some of these other things coming, but it hasn’t changed how we’ve tried. We’re trying to resolve this issue with Anita and we’re really trying to be a light out there for everybody. And we know it’s going to be tough, it’s a very divisive issue, but it shouldn’t be a divisive issue, it’s just about love.”
Watch the interview below.