Latifah Muhammad

The Help: NYC Exhibit Exposes Predominantly-Black Nanny Industry [PHOTOS]


New York City photographer Ellen Jacob’s new exhibit captures the racial divide still prevalent within the Big Apple’s nanny industry.  The four-year project, titled “Surrogates”, was inspired by the number of “Black women pushing White babies around” in  Jacob’s Upper West Side neighborhood.

According to the 58-year-old photographer, the majority of the nannies featured are immigrants hailing from “the Islands” or Africa, and range from ages 23 to 60. One White nanny,  is also showcased.

Jacob  described the work as displaying “the social, racial and economic relationships that powerfully affect life and largely go unnoticed.”  The women endure long hours, low pay and no health or vacation benefits. “Being a nanny is a low-paying job where love between the nanny and child is one of the anticipated but universally unspoken duties,” said Jacob. “This is an unusual expectation in a financial transaction.”

Despite the conditions, the nannies enjoy their jobs,  and Jacob points out that the families generally have close relationships with their employees.  Still, they aren’t quite treated as equals, and the separation of race and class remains “deeply rooted in culture”  Jacob (who also had a Black nanny as a child) told the UK Daily Mail.

“Surrogates” is on display at New York City’s Soho Photo Gallery through Feb. 1.

Hit the gallery below for photos.

Photos: Ellen Jacob/Daily Mail

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  • tarrilove

    They take advantage of their immigration status. Some rich people will spend more on a pair of uggs. Than their staff’s weekly checks.

  • JuJu

    Yet you have a problem with black people when they are the ones raising and nurturing your child! When that child has a scraped knee who do you think they run to? The nanny!! Show these women some respect. They deserve a “thank you for raising my baby” RESPECT

  • Alisha21

    I always thought it was mostly the asian women who dominated the nanny industry. This was quite an interesting article nonetheless, not surprising.

  • Magazine

    Our race is sooo lost! GOD help us!