The ever-edgy news network Viceland will air a show tonight about the economic livelihoods of four individuals in Baltimore: a dirt biker, an underground tattoo artist, a photographer and the owner of a hookah business.
According to the website for “Payday,” the show follows “20-somethings over the course of a single pay-period to see how they spend, struggle and thrive.” Baltimore is the fourth city to be featured, joining Salt Lake City, Memphis and Reno.
The narrator begins with this summary: “Baltimore: A place with two populations, one gentrifying, one just making due. Both love this city. These people are trying to make a living, or at best, just stay afloat in a city where divisions of class and race are hard to ignore.”
Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik notes that the episode should appeal well to millennials who sympathize with those struggling to get by in Baltimore’s modern urban economy. All of those featured on the show are self-employed and have occupations that are more challenging day-to-day than sitting in an office or performing other traditional jobs.
For example, take Chino Braxton. The dirt biker has become a local legend in the city’s very illegal dirt biking scene while also generating a brand image for himself. He has earned money by participating in professional motocross events, signing on as an artist with rapper Meek Mill’s “Dreamchasers” label and getting an endorsement deal from Monster Energy. But in pursuits in that underground culture, he’s met with plenty of violence. Braxton’s brother was late rapper Lor Scoota’s manager, and was infamously gunned down just two weeks after Lor Scoota himself was killed this past summer. Braxton himself was shot this past winter in a drive-by shooting in Northwest Baltimore.
The other three individuals on the episode are Noah, a photographer, AJ, a tattoo artist, and Cat, the hookah business-owning entrepreneur.
If this episode of “Payday” is anything like Viceland’s other programming, it should leave us with a very real impression of people in Charm City who lead very different lives than most of the population. The show premieres tonight at 9 p.m.
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