I’m so happy to present my new music video, “Hello Ed Lee.” It’s a collaboration between myself, local filmmaker Jane Goldman and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. You could say it’s the follow up to my 2014 video “Not My City Anymore”. You could also say it’s a last ditch effort to get Mayor Ed Lee’s attention.
To be clear, “Hello, Ed Lee” is a pop parody of Adele’s massively huge hit “Hello”, and a parody is just about the last thing I ever imagined doing! I’m incredibly out of touch when it comes to music, but I started noticing that Adele’s song “Hello” was the only thing on the radio whenever I went into a grocery store or whatnot. I mentioned this to my four nieces, who are always trying to educate me in regards to all-things-pop. Well they didn’t miss a beat and started busting out all these “Hello” parodies that were actually quite funny … and it’s incredible the traction these videos receive. Then one evening I was hanging out with Erin McElroy of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, commiserating about San Francisco and Mayor Ed Lee. I happened to mention these “Hello” parodies and how popular they are, and all of a sudden we were singing, “Hello Ed Lee” instead of Adele’s line, “Hello, it’s me.” And that was that.
“Hello Ed Lee” definitely references the original “Hello”, incorporating Adele’s ratty fur coat and flip phone (in our case, the perfect symbol of being on the wrong side of technology). Just as Adele can’t seem to get ahold of her ex, I can’t seem to get ahold of Ed Lee. Who can? The song’s original lyrics, “Hello from the other side” are the perfect words for a lover scorned, as in Adele’s case, or a city betrayed by its leader who was supposed to look out for its interests. San Francisco is swell if you’re on the receiving end of Tech Boom 2.0, otherwise, you just might be holding on for dear life. It really is a tale of two cities. So many friends have left and so many of my favorite places have shut down. It feels so utterly cruel … the disparity and the displacement. ”Oh this city is filthy rich, yet there’s crisis in the streets.” Hello, Ed Lee? Hello? Hello?
Hello Ed Lee
I was hoping we could talk about a tale of two cities
And not the book, but reality
They say you started on our side
But you were bought and sold by greed
Hello, can you hear me?
Has Ron Conway got your ear, planning his next big back room deal
Like more tax breaks or bus stops for free
I can’t help but count red carpets, are there any left for me?
Oh this city is filthy rich, yet there’s crisis in the streets
Hello from the other side
The Google bus don’t give no rides
And I don’t work for Twitter or Airbnb
So I’m struggling to stay here, I’m down on my knees,
Hello from the Mission
Ground zero for evictions
Where bus drivers, school teachers, the old and the young
Are fighting to hold on, we’re all on the run
Hello Mayor Lee
I’m in San Francisco dreaming about how things used to be
When I could pay rent and eat
Can’t afford these here new condos cause I’m not some VIP
How do you sleep Ed, when this city is losing its heart and soul
Hello from Vallejo
This is just how far I had to go
Now I can pay my rent but my friends are all gone
I left my heart, wait, that’s someone else’s song
Hello from a city robbed
Self dealing cronies, inside job
SOS SF, home of the tech bourgeoisie?
Your “progress” is toxic, Mr. Mayor can’t you see?