With the pro bono support of intellectual-property attorneys from the Palo Alto–headquartered Cooley law firm, White is confident that justice will eventually prevail. If she has any concern about the way negotiations have crumbled for all the world to see, it is for the way she is being portrayed by the band, how she believes they are positioning her as “the angry Black woman.” But even that won’t stop her fight.
“I was quiet for two weeks because I was trying to believe that it was going to be okay and that they would realize that it would be easier to just change their name, or pay me for my name,” White says. “Five million dollars is nothing, and I’m actually worth more than that, regardless of what they think. But here we go again with another white person trying to take something from a Black person, even though they say they’re trying to help. If you want to be an advocate or an ally, you help those who you’re oppressing. And that might require you to give up something because I am not going to be erased.”
The Grammy-winning vocal group filed the lawsuit Wednesday in federal court after negotiations with Anita White broke down in recent weeks. According to the lawsuit, the band is seeking a ruling that their use of the trademark “Lady A” does not infringe on White’s alleged trademark rights of the same name. The band is not seeking monetary damages.