“No More Wrecking Balls,” Chinatown advocates and PhillyCAM hit back at Sixers with a Miley Cyrus parody
The music video, put out by PhillyCAM, is a parody of Cyrus’ 2013 hit with the lyrics altered to tell the long story of Chinatown’s resistance against big devs.
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Advocacy groups for Chinatown against the Philadelphia 76ers plan to put an arena at Market East upped their creative protest with a song and music video that dropped on Wednesday, March 22 via PhillyCAM.
The song and video, titled “No More Wrecking Balls,” is a parody of Miley Cyrus’ 2013 hit “Wrecking Ball,” and tells the story of Philadelphia’s Chinatown and its long history of battles against development destructive to the neighborhood — from the Vine Street Expressway in the 1960s to a Phillies stadium in the 90s and now the Sixers arena at Market East.
In addition to featuring scenes shot in and around Chinatown from the present day, the video compiled scenes from past battles against developers in the neighborhood.
Members of organizations like the No Arena Chinatown Solidarity group, Asian Americans United, Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance, POWER Interfaith, Students for the Preservation of Chinatown, Save the UC Townhomes, and Positive Movement Entertainment, not only provided choreography for some scenes in the video, but also provided the vocals for a reimagined version of the Miley Cyrus hit.
“You came in with a wrecking ball, completely disregarded us. But you don’t get to make the calls. All your promises are empty, and you don’t get to make the calls,” harmonizes the chorus to the same melody as Cyrus in 2013.
As for the verses, they touch on the pride of Chinatown residents for their neighborhood, take shots at David Adelman and other Sixers leaders pushing for the arena (calling them “rude, self-important clowns”), and recount some of the previously-mentioned battles Chinatown has fought over pending gentrification.
“With a history full of victories, Chinatown will prevail,” sings the end of the second verse.
The video is the latest action from a growing coalition of neighborhood groups that have opposed the Sixers’ construction of a new arena at Market East since its official announcement on July 21, 2022. Called 76 Place, the arena would fill the space now occupied by the Fashion District (formerly The Gallery) on Market Street, butting up against Chinatown to the north.
Developers set 2027 as the year construction will begin, with the completion year set at 2031. A number of community protests have occurred since last Summer against the arena’s plan.
Last week, The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) — which was founded to preserve the neighborhood amid the battle over the Vine Street Expressway — joined other neighborhood organizations to take an official stand against the construction of the Sixers arena.
Based on a survey of Chinatown residents, business owners and visitors conducted by PCDC, found that 93% of business owners, 94% of residents and 95% of visitors, oppose the construction of the arena. The biggest concerns were cultural deterioration in Chinatown, parking, traffic and rising rents and displacement.
In response, developers at 76 Devcorp called the campaigns from advocates “misinformation campaign” that miss the big picture benefit for the city of building the arena. They also said they would continue to listen to community members about their concern.
“We do not shy away from dialogue and meaningful engagement,” they said in a released statement.
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