The identify change was achieved after the killing of George Floyd and a country-wide outcry in opposition to police brutality and systemic racism. The band needed to do higher. Besides now, they’re submitting a trademark lawsuit in opposition to a Black blues singer who’s been going by “Girl A” for a few years. They usually’re receiving quite a lot of backlash for it.
On Wednesday, July 8, it was reported that Girl A filed a lawsuit in federal courtroom after “negotiations” with blues singer Anita White. The Hollywood Reporter states that the band is “looking for a ruling that their use of the trademark ‘Girl A’ doesn’t infringe on White’s alleged trademark rights of the identical identify. The band will not be looking for financial damages.”
“Once we realized that Ms. White had additionally been performing beneath the identify Girl A, we had heartfelt discussions together with her about how we will all come collectively and make one thing particular and exquisite out of this second. We by no means even entertained the concept that she shouldn’t additionally have the ability to use the identify Girl A, and by no means will — right this moment’s motion doesn’t change that,” the band mentioned in an official assertion.
What to find out about Anita White, the blues singer.
Anita is a longtime blues singer and social justice advocate who lives in Seattle. The 61-year-old musician has been professionally going by “Girl A” because the ‘80s when she carried out in a Motown group referred to as Girl A & the Child Blues Funk Band. She was with the group for 18 years earlier than she went solo. Her first album beneath the identify Girl A got here out in 2010 (“BlueZin the Key of Me“), and he or she’s launched 4 extra since (the fifth album, “Girl A: Reside in New Orleans“ comes out July 18th, on the singer’s birthday).
On June 12, a day after the band introduced their new identify, Rolling Stone revealed an article that identified that despite the fact that Girl Antebellum had tried to do the “proper factor” by altering their identify, they used the identify of a longtime blues singer who had been going by Girl A for a very long time. Anita reached out to Rolling Stone stating that she was annoyed the nation group didn’t attain out to her first earlier than altering their identify.
“That is my life. Girl A is my model, I’ve used it for over 20 years, and I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved. That is an excessive amount of proper now. They’re utilizing the identify due to a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is only a second in time. If it mattered, it will have mattered to them earlier than. It shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to understand that their identify had a slave reference to it,” Anita identified.
She added, “It’s a possibility for them to faux they’re not racist or faux this implies one thing to them. If it did, they might’ve achieved some analysis. And I’m not completely happy about that. You [Rolling Stone] discovered me on Spotify simply — why couldn’t they?”
Why precisely is the nation band Girl A suing Anita White?
The band filed the lawsuit after Anita’s group requested for a $10 million cost ($5 million for her, and $5 million as a donation for Black Lives Matter) for utilizing her identify. The band said that Anita White and her group “have demanded a $10 million cost, so reluctantly we’ve got come to the conclusion that we have to ask a rustic to affirm our proper to proceed to make use of the identify Girl A, a trademark we’ve got held for a few years…We hope Anita and the advisors she is now listening to will change their minds about their method. We are able to achieve this rather more collectively than on this dispute.”
The band states that they’ve had the copyright for “Girl A” for “over a decade,” in keeping with Rolling Stone. What they need out of this lawsuit is a declaratory judgment that “the group hasn’t infringed on any copyright for the identify.”
May there be a risk of trademark infringement? It’s positively potential. Bob Celestin, a music legal professional, informed Rolling Stone that “It’s about who’s first to make use of a reputation. Viewers measurement is irrelevant. And the query is, does the unique Girl A have a trademark registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark workplace? If she does she will be able to go forward and sue Girl Antebellum for infringement. If not, she nonetheless has a standard legislation trademark and she will be able to nonetheless present that she’s been utilizing the identify in commerce — information, posters, tour flyers — for various years.” He added, “She is first to make use of the mark in commerce, so that provides her a superior proper to the identify.”
Girl Antebellum altering their identify to Girl A to indicate solidarity with BLM solely to SUE AN ACTUAL BLACK ARTIST who already has that identify is performative wokeness at its BLEAKEST
— darrell (@billybones709) July 8, 2020
Girl Antebellum making a superficial change to cloak their white supremacist roots in civility then suing a black girl to steal her property is fairly fucking antebellum.
— Camilla Blackett (@camillard) July 8, 2020
Whereas it’s true that the nation group and Girl A might attain a coexistence settlement (which permits them each to maintain the identify and hold performing beneath it — which is what the band needs), many would argue that it’s nonetheless unfair to take the identify of a long-time singer who’s constructed her career and model off of that very same identify because the ‘80s.
“…I’m not about to cease utilizing my identify. For them to not even attain out is pure privilege. I’m not going to put down and let this occur to me. However now the burden of proof is on me to show that my identify is in reality mine, and I don’t even understand how a lot I’ll need to spend to maintain it,” Anita mentioned.