Lady Antebellum Bollox…
Lady Antebellum, the Grammy-award winning singer/songwriting trio famous for belting out country tunes, most recently appeared on Saturday Night Live as the musical act for the 37th season opener. I tweeted that I would enjoy the group more, if it weren’t for their offensive name. A writer (yt woman) replied to my mentions to “clarify” that the term “antebellum” isn’t “hillbilly” (my selected word choice to play on the group’s ignorance) but in fact, a reference to a period in American history. As if I didn’t really know what it meant. *Fingers To Temple* After taking a second to calm (I initially saw red) I grew frustrated that white privilege would not allow her the basic open-mindedness to consider commercial use of the term “antebellum” insolent, nor the history behind the word.
According to Wikipedia: “the name Antebellum comes from when the group were photographing “antebellum” homes. The antebellum architectural style describes the large plantation homes in the American South. “Antebellum” more commonly refers to pre-Civil War America, especially the pre-Civil War culture in the slave holding southern states.”
As a Black woman raised in the South (currently living in Georgia) I don’t wish to support a white group with little concern of possibly offending the millions whose history is rooted in chattel slavery. NO parts of “antebellum” times were considered cute, celebratory or remotely appropriate as a crossover label of a modern music group. The fact that the group is white and sing country is just icing on the white supremacist cake (sarcasm). There are no commercial Black artists with such offensive names, and even if the attempt was made, white privilege also buffers from offense as there remains no comparable historic instance to the xenophobe behavior of European settlers in America. Really…what name hurled could possibly offend a white male as opposed to the many that deeply offend other races? Don’t worry…I’ll wait. While the group is in no way considered/billed as a racist act, the lack of consideration for an alternate name, yet increasing success without regard, only justifies the racist offense.
The same short-sighted mentality appears to motivate the producers of television shows like “Mad Men” and ABC’s “Pan AM,” both period dramas from the 1960’s, neither of which have any Black characters. Often described as “classy,” “stylish,” or “sophisticated” dramas, the reality is that during the 1960’s in America Blacks still struggled for equal/civil rights, and women were still fighting for fair treatment in the workplace. Those “glory days” are depicted as a memorable, positive time for wealthy, white men. Quite exclusive no matter the dramatic spin, fashion showcased from the era, or how many Emmys collected. In 2011, our “post-racial” age (yea, right) I choose not to support shows or groups that blatantly ignore or have little regard for audiences that look like me, our deep history in this country, or carefully “write-around” our presence during a particular period. “Entertainment” like that isn’t worth my attention, though people enjoyed hopping in my mentions once I stated my opinion. Hey. It’s America. Bring on the bollox.