Nas Academy countered earlier claims by the tattoo artist’s niece that the online tattoo course is a “scam.”
The plot thickens — after catching fire on Wednesday over its announcement of a traditional tattoo online course that allegedly didn’t have the consent of its prospective instructor, Apo Whang-Od, Nas Academy finally broke its silence by posting a clip that claims otherwise.
On Wednesday, on a public Facebook group consisting of those who have been undergone the time-honored traditional art, Apo Whang-Od grandniece Grace Palicas revealed that her grandmother “did not sign any contract with Nas Daily” and that “some people are taking advantage of our culture.”
The following day, however, the online learning website run by vlogger Nuseir Yassin, also known as Nas Daily, posted a video on Facebook that showed the prominent mambabatok “affixing her thumbprint” on a contract, thereby “signifying her full consent to the project.” Apo Whang-Od’s niece, Estella Palangdao was also present to translate the content of the contract, as well as to witness its signing.
Nas Academy also outlined in their statement that the family of the tattoo artist “loved this idea” and has worked with them to build the masterclass.
“We approached Whang-Od because just like you, we love her. We love her traditions and are inspired by her. We wanted to share her culture for future generations to appreciate and respect the ancient Kalinga tradition of mambabatok,” the statement read. “So we pitched her family the idea of creating Whang-Od Academy. “[She] and her family [who were] present both loved this idea, and have worked WITH US to build it, with Whang-Od teaching herself.”
“This is the clearest evidence that it is not a scam and achieved the consent of her and her immediate family,” it added.
Nas Academy also clarified that everybody was duly compensated for their efforts and that profits earned from the tattoo artist’s online course will directly go to Apo Whang-Od and her family. It also said that it temporarily took down the page for the online course until all issues that have risen from “falsehoods” have been resolved.
“40% of Nas Academy is made up of Filipinos. So for us, this is personal. We care deeply about the Philippines and respect the many cultures and traditions that exist across the country. And we have all come together to make the world a better place,” the final parts of the statement read.
The online course in question offered by Nas Academy is called “Learn the Ancient Art of Tattooing,” where the legendary Butbut mambabatok from the Kalinga, Apo Whang-Od, will “reveal all the rituals, tools, and methods for making traditional tattoos” for P750 per student.
Launched last year, Nas Academy is an online learning platform that works with experienced content creators and professionals to offer an online masterclass in various disciplines. This year, it partnered with 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray to start a beauty queen academy, as well as seasoned journalist Jessica Soho for a course on broadcast journalism.
Though praised for its initiative to propagate Philippine culture, some have also felt slighted by Nas Daily’s assumed “cultural exploitation” and “Pinoy-baiting,” where foreign vloggers tend to take advantage of local trends and engagement to boost their viewership and sales.