John Bartus

Headlines were made in entertainment news recently when the country group Lady Antebellum decided to change its name to the simpler, less racially insensitive Lady A. Well, the proverbial excrement hit the wind machine when a Seattle performer with the name Lady A complained that the group stole her name. 

This Lady A — a 61-year-old blues singer whose real name is Anita White — says she has been using the name Lady A for more than 20 years.

But so has the Florida Keys’ own Lady A. 

Agnes — Lady A — who along with Ric “Bluesfuze” Arra make up the core of the local Lady A Blues Band, has been using this name for decades. Agnes has used the Lady A moniker on stage since about 1990, and also hosted a radio show under that name. 

Seattle’s Lady A contacted the artist formerly known as Lady Antebellum and complained. A big stink arose, and entertainment news media went gaga. It wouldn’t look good if the big country mega-act stole the name from a pre-existing Lady A, would it? 

So Lady A (the band) reached out privately to Lady A (the Seattle singer). They posted this on social media: “Transparent, honest, and authentic conversations were had. We are excited to share we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground. The hurt is turning into hope. More to come.” Lady A (the Seattle singer) replied, “We talked about attempting to co-exist but didn’t discuss what that would look like, but I was clear I’m keeping my name.”

So where does that leave the Keys’ Lady A? Ric informed me that they have reached out to the new Lady A band, but no response as of yet. And as far as the Seattle Lady A goes, she’s the one who seemed to get lucky with her 15 minutes of fame. Contact Ric on Facebook if you want to help get our Lady A some welcome publicity. Seriously, it’s only fair, in that our Lady A has been Lady A from the beginning, long before Lady Antebellum decided to get woke. And all the best to Agnes and Ric  — the Original Lady A Blues Band.

* * * * *

There’s a Facebook ad campaign from Universal Studios Florida that is stellar in its ineptness. It’s been making the rounds on social media, and as a person who values the English language, I’m appalled every time it shows up, which is way too frequently. The name of the campaign is “Let’s Woah!”

Variations on this theme include, “You’re Ready. We’re Set. Let’s Woah!” Or, “Let Yourself Woah!” 

The problem is that there is no such word as “woah.” My guess is that it’s the misspelling of the word “whoa.” But for a large regional ad campaign created by an allegedly competent advertising agency, it’s an example of just how ignorant and stupid people can be, or how ignorant and stupid the agency thinks its customers are.

I understand the concept of creating a message with intentionally misspelled words, like, “It’s Thyme for Great Seasonings.” But there is no good reason to spell the word “woah” because it only proves that nobody in the agency has a freaking clue.

Online research showed that Austin, Texas-based GSD&M, part of Omnicom Group, was selected as the creative agency of record for Universal Parks & Resorts. I can only assume that the agency’s initials stand for Good Spellers Don’t Matter. 

The concept originator and the copywriters all need to be taken out of their offices and sent back to English class. There, they might get a clue about how to spell certain words or risk being rapped on the knuckles by an irate teacher wielding a ruler … metal edge side down. Seeing that ruler in motion just might inspire a terrified copywriter to say (and spell) WHOA!

– Catch John Wednesdays at Herbie’s, Thursdays at Sparky’s Landing, this Friday at Boondocks and his Social Distancing Concerts on Facebook Live, and  Saturday at the Key Colony Inn. Music available on CDBaby.com and iTunes, and wherever you get your streaming music.  www.facebook.com/john.bartus

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