Lady Antebellum and The Dixie Chicks Rebrand in Wake of Protests


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Country trios Lady Antebellum and The Dixie Chicks change names. (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

By Gabrielle Klinge and Oakley Burt


The ongoing protests in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month have caused many people in the United States to reflect on their role within the movement to end racism in our country. Musicians and actors have especially taken advantage of this time to address the issue of racism, acknowledging their past complicit behaviors while pledging to continually learn and grow. 

Recently, country musician groups Lady Antebellum and The Dixie Chicks have made the decision to change their names in response to the recent Black Lives Matter protests. Lady Antebellum have shortened their name to Lady A, while The Dixie Chicks are now referring to themselves as The Chicks.

Lady A

“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 previously known as Lady Antebellum said in a social media statement released June 11.

Lady A also discussed the choice behind their original name in the statement writing, “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.” Their post continued, “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.”

Lady A’s announcement was released on all their social media platforms, and garnered mixed reviews from fans. Many fans praised the Nashville group for their recognition of the negative connotation behind the word antebellum. The term antebellum is Latin for “before war,” and in the U.S., it is typically used to describe the plantation lifestyle in the South before the Civil War. Twitter users commented on the groups decision calling it “ridiculous,” “unnecessary” and “appeasing.”

The trio ended their announcement writing, “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.”

The Chicks

Lady A certainly led by example, as the Dixie Chicks — Natalie Maines, Emily Strayer and Martie Maguire — announced their name change to The Chicks two weeks later on June 25. In response to the change, NPR journalist Anastasia Tsioulcas wrote, “The country trio Dixie Chicks have changed the group’s name to The Chicks in an apparent distancing from a name associated with the Confederate-era South.”

To announce their new name, The Chicks released a new song called “March March,” along with a video that addresses social justice issues in the United States, including racism, police brutality, LGBT rights, climate change and gun violence. The Chicks have largely remained apolitical since 2003, after member Natalie Maines told an audience in London that the group did not support the Iraq War, and they were ashamed that then-U.S. President George W. Bush was from the band’s home state of Texas.

Describing The Chick’s “March March” video, Rolling Stone journalist Claire Shaffer wrote, “As Maguire dives into a fiery fiddle solo, the names of black Americans killed by police flash onscreen, and the video concludes with a message from the Chicks — ‘Use your voice. Use your vote.’ — along with links to various social justice organizations and nonprofits.”

Besides “March March,” the Chicks did not have much to say about their new name. They swiftly changed their social media handles and website url to note the change, while offering a simple statement: “We want to meet this moment.” They continued, “A sincere and heartfelt thank you goes out to ‘The Chicks’ of [New Zealand] for their gracious gesture in allowing us to share their name. We are honored to co-exist together in the world with these exceptionally talented sisters. Chicks Rock!”

Final Thoughts

These popular trios have been awakened to the racial inequality still plaguing our country today and the historical and social resonance of their previous monikers. Their decisions to rebrand is an important step moving forward toward the goal of anti-racism in America.


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