The past few weeks have provided countless opportunities for reflection, for sifting through what’s important to us and what isn’t, and for revisiting biases and beliefs.
From the increased time to ourselves thanks to quarantine to the need to reconsider how we value the humanity of fellow human beings, many people have changed and grown as individuals.
They explained why in a series of images that they tweeted on Thursday.
“Dear fans,” they began. “As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge…inclusive of all. 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.”
“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 note from Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley explained that the word had originally been chosen because of the style of architecture it described and that the band felt a musical connection to.
“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. 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 heart’s 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.”
Literally, antebellum means “before war,” but for quite some time it has been understood to mean the period of time before the American Civil War, which included slavery, thus giving it a negative connotation to some.
The group did not attempt any explanation for the timing of their decision.
“We understand that many of you may ask the question ‘Why have you not made this change until now?’” the message continued. “The answer is that we can make no excuse for our lateness to this realization. What we can do is acknowledge it, turn from it and take action.”
The response to the name change has been mixed, with some applauding the change and others critical of what they describe as political correctness taken too far.
Regardless, the band was adamant about the change.
“We want to do better. We are committed to examining our individual and collective impact and making the necessary changes to practice antiracism.”
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