This is a story of idealism unleashed. Paperboy Love Prince, a non-binary 28-year-old who used to deliver the news, now wants to make it. (Prince prefers the pronouns they/them or god/goddess – because we are all creators.) Assuming they get the required number of signatures to put them on the ballot, Prince will be running for Mayor come June. If they win, Paperboy will be the youngest one elected in NYC, beating out 34-year-old John Purroy Mitchel, who claimed the title in 1913.
Their resume does actually include a stint as a paperboy, as well as an artist, rapper, activist, street performer, web designer, fashion model and entrepreneur. Political experience is limited to a stint as a County Committee Representative, although they have also interned at the Supreme Court and the House of Representatives. A run for Congress last summer ended in defeat but left him undeterred in his quest to be a cause for change in the city.
“Honestly, I had no plan to run for Mayor until I realized how badly our city needed my vision,” they admit. “What this city is missing the most is love.”
Love is the word that pops up the most in their conversation and pretty much provides the motivation for the mayoral hopeful. Their platform, which includes universal basic income, healthcare for all, ending homelessness and a greener New York, finds their basis in a visionary yearning for an urban utopia.
“What this city is missing the most is love,” Prince states. “Our focus on love will help deal with the systematic causes of our problems. If the government can separate us, it can bring us together.”
“The first thing,” they continue, “is to open Love Centers. I want one on every block, to help people solve their problems, to connect people to others who can provide help. Or even just get a hug.” Listening to Paperboy it’s hard to doubt his sincerity, but a little harder to fathom the logistics. Prince is running on a platform that runs on ideals the way that a truck runs on diesel. They mention that financing for some of their notions may come from cryptocurrency, but one wonders about the economic consequences of canceling rent and mortgages for the next two years for those hurt by the pandemic ( not that we would complain).
For now, the candidate’s run is headed up by a 13-year-old campaign manager and a loose conglomeration of volunteers. Sitting in the “Love Gallery” , Paperboy’s combo art gallery, vintage clothing shop and community gathering spot at 1254 Myrtle St. in Bushwick, we wonder if this is campaign headquarters. “No,” corrects Prince. “This is a Love Center. The internet is my campaign headquarters.” One thing that Prince hopes to change with his candidacy is the general apathy of the voters. “Only 6% show up to vote,” they state. “Only 6% choosing our representation. It’s not only about speaking truth to power, it’s about getting people out and excited.”
One way they plan to do that is through their music, releasing a new set entitled – appropriately – “Paperboy For Mayor.” Prince’s sartorial flamboyance and alternately thoughtful/excitable style – the volume goes up whenever they remind you of their campaign slogan “It’s Our Time !” – will not be toned down anytime soon. “I’m just going to be myself and spread love,” they tell us.
Although they mention that their family’s roots in Brooklyn go back “hundreds of years”, they are less specific about their own origins. “I’m from the future, ” Prince states, plainly. “I’ve always known that. I grew up all over the world…..all over the universe. I’m 28, but I like to say that I’m 3000 years old. I’m moving with the knowledge of the past.”
“We need change that’s focused on love and unity and I’m the best person to make that a reality,” they conclude. “This is just the pre-show. “We’re just getting started.”
Follow their progress on Instagram at @paperboytheprince and online at paperboyprince.com.