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Esther Baxter Talks Getting Down & Dirty, Career Moves And Joe Budden

Esther Baxter may have the looks of a vixen but her assets measure up to much more than just 34DDD-24-40. After taking a hiatus in 2007 from the hip-hop music video and men’s magazine circuit, the Miami native is now looking to make her mark on the big screen. With ambitions of being taken seriously as a thespian, Baxter recently completed three films including a forthcoming melodramatic comedy alongside Meagan Good appropriately titled Video Girl. During a recent PSA photo for the devastating BP oil spill, VIBE pulled the young mother aside to get the goods on her involvement in the fight against BP, her transition into becoming an actress and, of course, her rumored relationship with rapper Joe Budden. Mikey Fresh



VIBE: How did you get involved with the Oil Spill PSA?

Esther Baxter: Well, I was just talking to a friend of mine one day who also models and we felt like we needed to get involved. It just didn’t make sense to us that more wasn’t being done to fix the problem. I mean 70,000 gallons of oil are being spilled out everyday. Plus, not enough people in the industry are aware of it. So we decided to try and help the cause and bring awareness to the problem. No one in the industry has really took the initiative to speak out and help bring attention to the cause, so hopefully more people will catch on and help after this.

You really got down and dirty for the cause…

That’s the whole point of this campaign—we want to show people that we’re really getting involved and doing whatever we have to in order to fix the problem, even if that means getting down and dirty. I don’t see enough people reaching out—I just can’t understand how BP is allowed to get away with it and they’re still selling gas! We’re covering ourselves in oil to show that nobody or nothing can be as beautiful as their full potential when they are covered in this stuff.  I mean we have like a swimsuit thing going on but yeah it’s pretty much just oil.

In the last few years you’ve been relatively quiet on the modeling scene. What have you been working on?

Right now, I'm getting into acting. Basically, I feel like I’ve conquered the urban modeling and video scene. I was one of the top video models and top paid. So I just felt like it was time to build my career further and challenge myself. Really, acting is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve done a few commercials and TV shows here and there but it’s time to really build my career.

Your first movie Speed Dating just premiered in Chicago. Were you nervous during the filming?

I was extremely nervous! But the director and whole cast were really cool. They all helped to give me direction and just told me to be natural. It wasn’t difficult or stressful though—really it was a lot of fun. The movie is hilarious. I took some acting classes at one of the top schools in New York before I came out. The classes were actually scarier than shooting the movie [laughs]. I mean we had to act like wild animals during some of the training exercises… in front of the whole class. I was embarrassed.

I mean, it’s a huge change from being in music videos…

It was actually less stressful than a music video shoot. With a music video, they don’t really give you a lot of direction but they expect a lot from you, based on the fact that you’re one of the top models. With shooting movies, they weren’t really expecting me to be anything but myself. Wesley Jonathan was really nice and extremely helpful. He would just give me little pointers like how to use the different levels of my voice. Holly Robinson was so sweet. She talked to me like I was an old friend.

You also have another flick coming out with Meagan Good and Haylie Duff called Video Girl. Is the movie as cliché as it sounds?

I was a little skeptical at first, just because of the title. But after reading the treatment I realized that the storyline was really deep. And the fact that Megan Good who plays one of the main characters and Haylie Duff were on board also helped me believe in the movie. Video Girl really shows all the insides and outs of the whole video model industry and how it really is. There are all sides of the story in the movie.

Which actors would you really want to work with?

I'm open to working with anybody. If you would have asked me this question maybe a year or two ago I would of have told you a whole long list of people. But after working on a few movies, I really learned that anybody can have a great story and that’s all I care about.

What if your celebrity crush was cast in a love scene with you, how would you handle that?

I don’t really have a celebrity crush though…

No one?

No! [Giggles] No I don’t, but when I was younger I used to have huge crush on Vin Diesel. I actually met him on plane before but I’m over him. I guess it would be cool to do a movie with him now, but I wouldn’t get all crazy around him… anymore. [Laughs]

Do you find that guys still get intimidated by you?

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102-Year-Old Woman Evicted From Home To Make Room For Landlord’s Daughter

A 102-year-old woman living in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Ladera Heights is being evicted from her home of three decades. Thelma Smith was notified on March 8 that she has to move out so that the landlord’s daughter can move into the single-family home, after she graduates from law school.

Smith was on a month-to-month lease and has been paying “very low rent,” her longtime neighbor told the L.A. Times. She has to be out of the home by June 30.

While Smith’s eviction is legal, as landlords have the right to evict tenants to help relatives under L.A.'s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, Larry Gross of the Coalition for Economic Survival told the Times that the law is used to “target low-income paying tenants.”

Smith is a former director of the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charity aimed at serving underprivileged youth. She has yet to find a new home, and rejected her neighbor’s offer to move in, but it looks like she’ll be getting housing assistance from Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actor and former California Governor vowed to help Smith, whom he called a “dear friend for a long time.”

“Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless,” he tweeted Friday (May 24). Schwarzenegger went on to state that he will be reaching out to Smith. “Landlords, you’ll hear from me too,” he added.

Thelma has been a dear friend for a long time. Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless. Thelma, I’ll be reaching out to help. Landlords, you’ll hear from me too.

— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) May 24, 2019

Landlord Arthur Hilton explained to CBS News that the home was never meant to be a rental property, even though Smith had been living there for 30 years. “This property was purchased by my parents not for rental but for the Hilton family,” he said.

Smith, a widow who never had children, planned to live in the home for the remainder of her life.

See more on her story in the video above.

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Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence

Rey Ma Facing Additional Charges In Alleged Assault Against Brittney Taylor

Rey Ma has been hit with additional charges in an ongoing assault case in which she stands accused of attacking former Love & Hip Hop: New York cast member Brittney Taylor. The Bronx native appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court Friday (May 24) where she was arraigned on four misdemeanor charges, according to TMZ.

Although Remy was initially charged with assault, and turned herself in to authorities earlier in the month, she now faces two counts of third-degree assault, one count of second-degree aggravated harassment, and one count of second-degree harassment. She was offered the option to plead guilty to the top charge and enter anger management in exchange for having the other charges dropped but reportedly rejected the deal.

A trial date has been set of July 12.

Taylor claims Remy punched her in the eyed during a run-in at the Pretty Lou Charity Concert at New York City’s Irving Plaza last month. Remy was among the event performers along with Fat Joe, Jim Jones and more. She denies attacking Taylor and claims to have video evidence proving her innocence. TMZ reports that prosecutors have since changed the time of when the supposed altercation took place to line up with the time that Remy would have been at the venue.

Upon leaving the courtroom Friday, Remy didn’t mince words when speaking about going to trial. “Who looks forward to going to trial? I have things to do in my life,” she said according to the New York Daily News. “I have a real job, I have a family, I have a husband, I have a daughter.”

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34 black female cadets from West Point's Class of 2019 pose at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
Cadet Hallie H. Pound/U.S. Army via AP

Black Women Cadets Make History At West Point Graduation

A record number of black female cadets are set to graduate from West Point (The United States Military Academy). After completing four years of education and "testing their limits," 34 black women will be walking across the stage at the 2019 commencement ceremony for the first time in the school's 217-year history.

Earlier this month, the black female cadets came together for a pre-graduation group photo. Little did they know, the photos of them in traditional Old Corps uniforms with ceremonial sabers would make their rounds on social media.

“My hope when young Black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability an fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” shared one of the cadets, Tiffany Welch-Baker, in an interview with Because Of Them We Can.

Although West Point admitted its first black cadet until 1870, the academy didn’t graduate its first black cadet until the Reconstruction in 1877. In 1979, Vincent K. Brooks was made the first black captain of the Corps of Cadets. In 2017, Simone Askew became the first Black woman to lead the Corps of Cadets.

Senior cadet Stephanie Riley told The Associated Press in another interview: “I just showed myself and those who thought I couldn’t do it initially that yes, I can. And not just, ‘Yes, I can.’ I can show other little girls that yes, you can come to West Point. Yes, you can do something that maybe the rest of your peers aren’t actually doing. And yes, you can be different from the rest of the group.”

The class of 2019 includes a total of 223 women, another milestone since the first female cadets' graduation in 1980. The total number of graduation African-Americans doubled to 110, while the number of graduating Latinos became the largest, 88, in the academy's history. West Point also appointed Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams as its first black superintendent in July 2018.

Not only will West Point be graduating its 5,000th female cadet, but it will also have its highest number of female Hispanic graduates, 19. The commencement ceremony is set for Saturday, May 25, with Vice President Mike Pence delivering the commencement speech.

Congratulations to the black ladies of West Point's graduating Class of 2019!

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