Content creator Nuseir Yassin, a.k.a. Nas Daily, has made a name out of making light one-minute videos on Facebook and YouTube. In 2020, he launched Nas Academy, which offered online courses and industry tips from celebrities, influencers, and other experts.
One of the newest masterclasses to come out from Nas Academy is one from traditional tattoo artist Whang-Od.
Priced at P750, the course's description reads: "Prepare to learn a 1000-year-old art form from the last Kalinga tattoo artist in the world: Whang-od. This 104-year-old legend will reveal all her rituals, tools, and methods for making traditional tattoos. All packed in a course that’s unlike anything we’ve ever done before!"
This all sounds great except Whang-Od's grandniece and protegée, Grace Palicas, called the online masterclass a "scam."
"My grandmother did not sign any contract with @NasDaily to do any academy," Grace writes in a Facebook post in the public group Tattooed by Apo Whang-Od.
"Some people are taking advantage of our culture. Please help us stop this disrespect to the legacy of Apo Whang Od and the Butbot Tribe," she added.
In a now-deleted Facebook post, Grace shared how she acknowledged the good intentions of the masterclass, but expressed her village's concerns.
"I spoke to her (Whang-Od) and she said she did not understand what the translators were saying. Am sorry to tell you she will not be joining the @nasdaily. I know you have good intentions of sharing our culture to the next generation. However, our village concern is that some people are profiting and [exploiting] our art and culture," she wrote.
She continued to mention how Whang-Od was not aware of any contract about the course.
Nas Academy has yet to say anything about the matter but has removed the Whang-Od Academy course from its website and socials.
Other Filipinos have their own online courses on Nas Academy, including Catriona Gray, Erwan Heussaff, Jessica Soho, Jason Magbanua, and Michael Cinco.
Whang-Od photo from Miguel De Guzman / Philippine STAR