The group announced on Thursday that it will drop the word “Antebellum” from the name it has used since its formation in 2006 and go by Lady A, a nickname it says fans have long used.
The change, the group said in a statement, comes after realizing the word’s association to slavery.
“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,” the band said. “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 group, which is made up of musicians Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley, added that they are, “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 wrote. “So today, we speak up and make a change. We hope you will dig in and join us.”
The change comes after, they wrote, a period of “personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest black friends and colleagues.”
“We’ve watched and listened more than ever these last few weeks, and our hears 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 every day,” they wrote. “Now, blindspots we didn’t even know existed have been revealed.”
The band vowed that their name change is just the first of many steps they will take in a commitment to “practice antiracism.”
“We will continue to educate ourselves, have hard conversations and search the parts of our hearts that need pruning — to grow into better humans, better neighbors,” they wrote. “Our next outward step will be a donation to the equal justice initiative through 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.”