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“It felt like we were being fed a lot of unreliable information and um, I wasn’t sure what I should have believed. The story was unclear. I wasn’t sure if she was actually dead.” 

What is Going on With Social Media Influencer Lil Tay?

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In August, Lil Tay’s Instagram account  released a death statement for a girl named Tay Tian. Lil Tay is the stage name for the young rapper and social media influencer whose birth name is Tay Tian. Her age is unconfirmed as some sources say 14 and others 16. In the post, they announced Tay and her brother’s deaths. Of course, this was heartbreaking information for anyone to come by. Mysteriously dying does not make sense as Tay is a young teenager. Especially as her brother “passed away” too. Two young people don’t just mysteriously die for no reason. Something had to happen. What happened? That’s what the people wanted to know. Thankfully, we learned that the death statement was a hoax and she is alive and fine. 

I decided to interview local teens to see how they felt about the situation. Harper Anderson, 17, says “ I was really confused because it was hard to, like get all the information you needed from social media. It felt like we were being fed a lot of unreliable information and um, I wasn’t sure what I should have believed. I follow her and I haven’t seen a post for years. I forgot about her. I found out from other accounts reposting random news. The story was unclear. I felt bad for her. But I wasn’t sure if she was actually dead.” 

Lil Tay has become a social media sensation with an unconfirmed wealth of over $500,000 dollars. She went viral for being “super rich” at age nine. The core of her social media persona consisted of being rude and degrading to “poor” people, and flexing her status. Holding handfuls of what appeared to be cash in an Instagram post she once stated, “ More than ur rent more than your Auntie thats 200k in cash.” 

Lil Tay’s Instagram posted footage of her older brother, Jason Tian, allegedly feeding her and forcing her into saying rude things. It turned out all of the cars, houses, and money she was bragging about was apparently not hers at all. According to a 2018 Vice article, Tay’s mom, Angela Tian, was exposed by a former colleague. Allegedly, she worked at a real estate company and was making her daughter lie on the internet claiming she owned different properties and vehicles. Ever since, many more scandals came to light. 

In 2018, her Instagram account struck again when she posted photos of Tay’s body allegedly covered in scratches and bruises allegedly due to her father. Tay claimed her dad had been abusing her since she was young. In August, Vanity Fair magazine reported Lil Tay’s father, Chris Hope denied the abuse claims and sent Instagram a cease-and-desist letter. 

After the death hoax, media outlets, including the Hollywood industry publication Variety interviewed Tay’s family to confirm or deny the death rumors. Her dad, Christopher J. Hope, said he was unable to confirm or deny anything. On August 10, Lil Tay released a statement to TMZ stating “I want to make it clear that my brother and I are safe and alive, but I’m completely heartbroken, and struggling to even find the right words to say. It’s been a very traumatizing 24 hours. All day yesterday, I was bombarded with endless heartbreaking and tearful phone calls from loved ones all while trying to sort out this mess.” Then on September 26, Tay’s Instagram released a post alleging “My abusive racist misogynistic woman-beating father faked my death.” At this point, no one had confirmed if Tay Tian was still running her account, some say it was hacked or is her mom or brother. But they have confirmed Lil Tay is still alive.

Tay ended up posting about how she was going to be going live to expose everything that has happened and why she has been gone. She went live, and allegedly exposed her fathers abuse. The full video of her live is up on her Instagram page.

In an August statement to US Weekly, Tay’s mother Angela Tian said, “There are no words to describe the years of pain and oppression my daughter and I have suffered, and we have been ruthlessly stripped of basic rights and freedoms from the opposing party due to [Christopher Hope’s] disgusting financial motivations. It breaks my heart that my children had to endure this pain for so long.” In a statement to Rolling Stone, Vancouver-based family law attorneys representing Tay and Angela Tian said they have successfully acquired primary custody for Angela Tian, stating that Lil Tay’s primary residence will be with Angela and they retain the right to relocate outside of Vancouver should they wish. Tian has also been granted “sole day-to-day and final decision-making powers and responsibilities in the best interests of Tay Tian,” according to the statement. Rolling Stone wrote, “Christopher Hope, Lil Tay’s father, has been ordered to submit monthly child support payments in addition to other expenses, plus retroactive child support owed dating back to 2014. MacLean Law estimates that the backpay amounts to approximately $275,000.”

On Instagram Live, Lil Tay alleged, “He is not the f—ing good guy here. He wanted control over my career and my money, and… me and my family had to go through even more years of abuse through the court system because of him. But in the end we won. I am free now.”


The social media influencer pleaded for her father to leave her alone as she tries to rebrand herself and make a successful comeback. On Oct. 1, she released a music video and song titled “SUCKER 4 GREEN.” It was published at the same time of her live and expose video. 

Of the new video, Colette Davenport, 17, who attends Dekalb School of the Arts told VOX ATL she feels that “The music video is overly sexual. I wonder if she’s still being exploited. If she is 14, I don’t understand who could have approved the idea for this video.” 

Hopefully, all is well for Tay Tian. As she’s only a kid, she deserves much better than all she has dealt with.


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comments (1)

  1. Michael Harris

    Amazing job Rae!! Your coverage was fair, well researched, sourced, and balanced! Many seasoned adult journalist could not have done a better job coving so many moving parts in a single article! Bravo!!