Jul 13, 2021
A 28-year-old non-binary activist, rapper and artist, Paperboy Love Prince was be the youngest candidate to appear on the mayoral ballot at last month’s mayoral primary. They were also the most flamboyant and most likely to freestyle 20, 30 bars unprompted.
Prince, who lives in Bushwick (pronouns: they/them/God/Goddess), says their top priority is to “spread love.” But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss them as mere theater.
“When people say, ‘Is this a performance?,’ part of me sometimes takes offense to it, if I’m being honest … I’m like, ‘Yo, my performance art is way better than this campaign!,’” Prince told Brooklyn Magazine ahead of the primary.
Prince’s platform embraced an anti-establishment ethos: They want to see $2,000 monthly universal-basic-income payments for every resident. Free healthcare. Reparations for the drug war. Reparations for slavery. To abolish the police and legalize drugs. Plus, they want to set up “Love Centers” where residents can get therapy, classes, hugs and more. And in order to get people to listen, Prince will put on a show.
“It’s hard to have these conversations if I’m not a playful character,” Prince said. “I’m getting people excited who have been left out of traditional politics for so long.”
For all their boisterous flamboyance, Prince is no political neophyte: They have held internships at the U.S. House of Representatives and the Supreme Court, and supported Andrew Yang in his presidential bid. Last year, Prince won 20 percent of the vote in the Seventh District congressional primary against incumbent Nydia Velazquez. It was a loss, but the showing was impressive enough for people to take notice—something Prince has proven themselves incredibly adept at doing.
Prince finished 11th in the mayoral contest, which was no tremendous surprise. What would be a surprise is if they just disappeared. Pay a visit some time to their headquarters, Love Gallery, a pink storefront on Myrtle Avenue, which continues to operate as a vintage store and community space.