Grammy-winning country music stars Lady Antebellum has changed their name to Lady A. This comes after a discussion of what the name Antebellum really references.
Here is a look at what Antebellum means and how it ties into slavery in the United States.
What does Antebellum mean?
Antebellum is a style of architecture.
Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood took one of their early band photos in an antebellum-styled home in 2006. The home was in Nashville and Kelly saw they were still trying to come up with names.
He said they planned on something like Springdale but they thought that the antebellum-styled home was beautiful and decided it reminded them of a haunted house and they thought that Lady Antebellum sounded cool.
He said it was a “southern rock” name.
However, the dictionary defines antebellum as “before the war,” or more specifically before the American Civil War.
How does Antebellum link to slavery?
The band released a letter to fans on Twitter explaining how they decided to change their name from Lady Antebellum to Lady A.
“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 everyday.”
“Blind spots we didn’t even know existed have been revealed.”
What they learned is that, as beautiful as the homes are, they were the grand plantation homes with the columns and sprawling grounds that one might find in Gone with the Wind.
These antebellum homes were mostly built on the backs of slave labor.
In a time where HBO Max temporarily removed Gone with the Wind from its streaming service as they attempt to remove anything with racist overtones from popular culture, Lady Antebellum realized that its name had a meaning they did not intend.
“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,” Lady A wrote in their statement on Twitter.
The term “antebellum” itself is not offensive, but the way that people see it today brings back memories of the slave era in United States history.
While architecture, art, and movies are all part of a time capsule that needs to exist to show the history of a country and society, people are understanding it is also something that shouldn’t be glorified.
In Lady A’s case, it is not a part of history they want to build their careers around anymore.