The latest volley in what may be a lengthy (and welcome) conversation about content creators and the cultures they use as subjects comes from social entrepreneur Louise Mabulo, who narrates her own experience with Nas Daily creator Nuseir Yassin two years ago.
Mabulo has been awarded for her work with The Cacao Project, an initiative that provides farmers in Southern Luzon with alternative crops—particularly cacao—and training to help them make agriculture a more sustainable and dignified trade.
According to her post, Nas Daily came to cover The Cacao Project via the vlog’s famous one-minute vids, but the reality was far from the pleasant, over-the-top experience that Nas Daily has become known for.
Yassin was a terrible guest, Mabulo alleges: “I watched him imitate and mock the local accent and language, vocalising Tagalog-sounding syllabic phrases saying it sounded stupid. He repeatedly said that the people of my hometown [were] ‘poor’.”
Worse, Mabulo says, Yassin was unhappy about her story being “not clickable viewable content”, and made several references to Pinoy-baiting for clicks: “He said no one wants to hear about farmers or farms, it’s not clickable viewable content. He didn’t care about making change or shedding light on real issues— he only wanted content, a good, easy story to tell that would get him more Filipino views. He even joked at the start of the day that all he needed was to put ‘Philippines’ in the title, and he’d rack in millions of views would and the comments would come flooding with brainless ‘Pinoy pride’ comments.”
The Nas Daily team left without their story, says Mabulo (and a quick check of Nas Daily’s archive doesn’t turn up a video on The Cacao Project), who offers additional commentary on the controversy. “I should have known better, that this man was exploitative and fueling a neocolonialist narrative using our need for foreign validation,” she writes.
“The fact that he refused to take down the course until Gracia took her post down is a clear sign of systematic silencing, and the hope that they want to continue their money-making from our culture…Filipinos should stand together on this— We are not content to be exploited. We are not culture to be capitalised. We are not people to be romanticized. Or poverty to set the scene for ‘Benevolent Saviors’. We are more than what the world thinks of us.”
Read Louise Mabulo’s full statement here:
UPDATE// 06 August: Louise Mabulo’s father, Fermin Mabulo (who also happens to be the mayor of San Fernando, Camarines Sur), posted his support for Louise, along with his own version of the events.
UPDATE// 06 August: Through the Nas Daily Filipino page, Nuseir Yassin has also released a statement regarding Louise Mabulo’s allegations.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story located The Cacao Project in Northern Luzon; the initiative operates in Camarines Sur, in Southern Luzon.