Country band Lady Antebellum are changing their name to get rid of its associations with slavery and the Civil War, the group announced Thursday.
The band, best known for their hit song “Need You Now,” will now be known simply as Lady A, “the nickname our fans gave us almost from the start,” they said in an Instagram post.
“As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge…inclusive of all,” they said in the post. “We’ve watched and listened more than ever these last few weeks, and 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.”
The band said they’d decided to make the change because “blind spots we didn’t even know existed have been revealed.”
“Antebellum” refers to the Antebellum South, a period in the southern US before the Civil War, when slavery was legal and in widespread use.
The band said they’d chosen their name nearly 14 years ago when they took their first photos in front of an antebellum-style home, saying it reminded them 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,” they said.
They apologized for the name they had been known by for over a decade, telling fans they 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,” they said. “So today, we speak up and make a change. We hope you will dig in and join us.”
The band said they feel “awakened” and are committed to becoming more actively anti-racist, and would be making a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit working to end mass incarceration.
“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,” the band said.