Lady Antebellum is changing its band name and apologizing to those who have been hurt by their use of the word antebellum.
In an Instagram message on Thursday, the band said that they've been taking the time to learn about injustices, inequality and biases black men and women have faced historically and still face today. After personal reflection and conversations with black friends and colleagues, the band members -- Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood -- decided to drop the word antebellum from its name and will now be known as Lady A.
Antebellum means "before the war," but is widely used to note the time before the American Civil War.
"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," the band said in their statement about changing its name. "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 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. So today, we speak up and make a change. We hope you will dig in and join us."
"We feel like we have been Awakened, but this is just one step," the message continues. "There are countless more that need to be taken. We want to do better. We are committed to examining our individual and collective impact and making the necessary changes to practice antiracism. We will continue to educate ourselves, have hard conversations and search the parts of our hearts that need pruning—to grow into better humans, better neighbors. Our next outward step will be a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative through LadyAID. Our prayer is that if we lead by example…with humility, love, empathy and action…we can be better allies to those suffering from spoken and unspoken injustices, while influencing our children & generations to come."
Scott, Kelley and Haywood aren't the only celebrities who have re-examined some of their past choices in light of the nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism following the death of George Floyd. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds -- who were criticized in 2012 when they got married at a plantation in Charleston -- recently donated $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Lively was also accused in the past for her now-defunct website, Preserve, glorifying the antebellum South.
"We’re ashamed that in the past we’ve allowed ourselves to be uninformed about how deeply rooted systemic racism is," Lively's message about their donation read in part. "We want to educate ourselves about other people's experiences and talk to our kids about everything, all of it… especially our own complicity. We are committed to raising our kids so they never grow up feeding this insane pattern and so they'll do their best to never inflict pain on another being consciously or unconsciously. It's the least we can do to honor not just George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Eric Garner, but all the black men and women who have been killed when a camera wasn’t rolling."