On Thursday, the Grammy award-winning country group formerly known as Lady Antebellum announced they would be changing their name to Lady A.
"As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge…inclusive of all," the group said in a statement shared on their social media. "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. Now, blindspots we didn’t even know existed have been revealed. "
Merriam-Webster says the word "antebellum" comes from the Latin phrase ante bellum (literally meaning "before the war") and its earliest known appearance in English dates back to the 1840s. However, it is widely associated with the U.S. Civil War until after that conflict was over, thus being closely related to slavery as well.
"After much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest Black friends and colleagues, we have decided to drop the word 'antebellum' from our name and move forward as Lady A, the nickname our fans gave us almost from the start. "
The group, consisting of members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, explained that when they named their band 14 years ago, they picked the moniker because of the southern "antebellum" style home their first photos were shot at and that the reference reminded them of the genres of music that defined their sound.
However, the group admits they didn't realize the heavy connotations related to the word.
"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," the statement said.
"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. "
The group is also donating funds to the Equal Justice Initiative through their non-profit 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 and generations to come."