By Christian Holub
June 11, 2020 at 01:03 PM EDT
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As protests for racial justice continue to sprout up across the United States in the wake of George Floyd's killing by Minnesota police, Americans everywhere are reckoning with their own relationships to racism and history. The latest do so are the members of the country band Lady Antebellum (Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood), who announced on Thursday that they will officially be renaming themselves "Lady A" in order to disassociate themselves from the history of slavery.

In American history, the "antebellum" era (literally, "before the war") refers to the period of the 19th century before the Civil War. With the Fugitive Slave Act in full swing, it was the zenith of the so-called "Slave Power" in U.S. politics. It was a time of plenty for white southerners, and has been a popular aesthetic among that demographic ever since. Just look at the enduring popularity of plantation weddings and Gone With the Wind. In their new statement, the members of Lady Antebellum write that the term "reminded us of all the music born in the South that influenced us...Southern rock, blues, R&B, gospel, and of course, country."

But just as Gone With the Wind has now been removed from HBO Max, so too is Lady Antebellum reconsidering this connection. "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." It shouldn't be too difficult of a change for the band's fans to wrap their heads around; as they write near the beginning of the statement, fans have long been using the nickname "Lady A" anyway.

Read the group's full statement above.

To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
  • Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
  • Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.

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