OCTOBER 23, 2023 – MARCH 1, 2024

Zaire Love Beverly & Sam Ross Gallery

Zaire Love is an award-winning filmmaker, music maker, writer, and educator whose mission is to honor, amplify, and immortalize the stories and voices of the Black South focusing most of her work in Memphis and Mississippi. Bringing honor to the Black South, its people, its traditions, and its cultures in the past, present, and future is her life’s work.

As an emerging artist, Zaire has been awarded honors at multiple film festivals, created work for PBS, and granted the If/Then and HULU grant to produce her award-winning short documentary, SLICE. Her artistry is an ode to being Black and Southern in America because the Black South has always had meaningful “cornbread” to share. Zaire calls her work creative cornbread because it is Black Southern sustenance filled with knowledge, discovery, imagination, and authentic artistry that nourishes those who partake.

Zaire Love is a graduate of Spelman College [BA], Houston Baptist University [MEd], and the University of Mississippi [MFA]. She directs the Southern Foodways Alliance film program and is the Creative Director at Scalawag Magazine. She is writing new narrative scripts and exploring new documentary ideas with her studio, Creative Cornbread.


GHETTO GIRLS DESERVE GOOD THINGS is an ode to the originators of carefree expressive style and culture that influences contemporary culture. There is a demand for ghetto aesthetics and ingenuity but often the creators are erased while the “pseudo-innovators” write a new story with stolen culture. Will we ever talk to the ghetto girl about her dreams, desires, and hopes for her future? And if we do, what would we hear? 

In this moment of advocating for Black representation, Black excellence, and Black equity in America, we must keep in mind that radical activism means radical representation. GHETTO GIRLS DESERVE GOOD THINGS exists to ensure ghetto girls have a chance to pull their seats up to the table and tell their stories. 

The genesis of my mission to honor, amplify, and immortalize the stories and voices of the Black South are my granny’s stories about my rebellious Big Mama who didn’t take no mess. She just lived her life on her terms with a toughness and stance that was counter to the narrative that Black folks in the South just let life and harm handle them any kinda way. 

The Black South is the catalyst for what makes many Americans proud to be American. Our culture, music, food, literature, inventions, and all of the things make folks from all around the world want to see and witness what America has to offer. 

The ghetto girl is no different. Her carefree and artistic style is duplicated and tone-downed to be palatable to the masses. The hairstyles and colors, accessories, style, and vernacular that have made the word “ghetto” have a negative connotation are the same characteristics that make the mainstream interpretation of it “bold” and “edgy”. 

The film ETTO, which inspired and influenced this exhibition is a story about how an unapologetically ghetto Black woman navigates the workspace and must decide between her ghetto peace and her proper paycheck. In an Afrofuturistic future, this wouldn’t be an issue but because we’re in the present GHETTO GIRLS DESERVE GOOD THINGS exists as an ode to the originators of carefree expressive style and culture that influences contemporary culture. It exists to honor, amplify, and immortalize the ghetto girls whose influence ain’t credited enough.

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The Beverly + Sam Ross Gallery is located on the lower level of Plough Memorial Library in the center of campus on the Buckman Quadrangle, easily accessible from the Central Avenue parking lot and the East Parkway entrance. All exhibits are free and open to the public.


Scott A. Carter, MFA
Assistant Professor and Gallery Coordinator • (901) 321-3243 • scarte20@cbu.edu