Controversial influencer Lil Tay has announced plans to launch a music career after a fake death hoax rocketed her back into the spotlight amid sordid allegations of abuse against her father.
The online star, who is originally from Canada but is now based in Los Angeles, first shot to fame at age nine after starring in a series of vulgar rap-style videos.
But, following her initial success, she was notably absent from social media for more than five years amid a bitter court battle between her parents, Angela Tian and Christopher Hope.
However, the now 16-year-old reemerged in dramatic style in August when a post shared on her official Instagram account claimed that both she and her brother Jason Tian had died ‘unexpectedly’ – prompting a wave of speculation about what had happened to them.
Mystery surrounded the circumstances of the siblings’ so-called passing for 24 hours before Lil Tay, who real name was Claire Hope, finally issued a statement confirming that she was in fact alive, and blaming the fake post on an Instagram ‘hacker’.
Still, the furious public scrutiny sky rocketed the teenager – who was born Claire Hope – back into headlines around the world, and now she has revealed plans to capitalize on her refreshed fame by launching a career as a pop star.
Controversial influencer Lil Tay has announced plans to launch a music career after a fake death hoax threw her back into the spotlight amid sordid allegations of abuse against her dad
Now the 16-year-old, whose real name was Claire Hope, has set her sights on becoming a pop star, revealing plans to capitalize on her resurgence
She reemerged in dramatic style in August when she was forced to deny claims that she and brother Jason Tian had died ‘unexpectedly’, alleging her Instagram account was ‘hacked’
Speaking to Rolling Stone, the performer said that becoming a singing sensation had always been part of the plan but that the death hoax earlier this year had hindered the launch of her single titled Sucker 4 Green.
‘I really wanted to get things going. And this was just something that came out of absolutely nowhere. And I had to clean up,’ Lil Tay explained.
‘I always had a vision of myself becoming famous. It was something I wanted to do. And I just spoke it into reality.’
Lil Tay addressed her family’s involvement in helping her become a music star which seemingly began with piano lessons at the age of four.
Talking about her mom, she said Tian ‘knew I had a very big vision for myself’.
‘And she helped me by putting me in lessons from a young age because I expressed my desire to be very musically involved,’ she continued.
And, of brother Jason, who is six years her senior and was previously accused of ‘exploiting’ the youngster, Lil Tay added: ‘I am the one that’s always wanted to become famous.
‘I was the one who had a vision for myself as an artist, and I made it happen. And, of course, he helped me.’
She claimed that her career had been on track until she was at the center of a fraught custody battle in 2018, which saw her accusing her own father of abuse – and later claiming that he was the one behind the fake death hoax on her Instagram.
The online star, who is originally from Canada but is now based in Los Angeles, first shot to fame at age nine after starring in a series of vulgar rap-style videos
In May 2018, it was claimed that Tay was being exploited by brother Jason after a series of videos came out that showed him coaching her on what to say in her controversial posts
Referencing her father, Lil Tay said: ‘I had all of these things coming for me, I had my dreams within reach and then this person that I thought I escaped a very long time ago, comes in out of nowhere and takes it all down.’
She said that she began using songwriting as a form of ‘escapism’ from the strained situation at home.
However, the influencer did not address the post about her death, nor did she explain why it took her and her family an entire day to shut down the false rumors – leaving the world to believe that the teenager and her brother had in fact passed away.
According to Rolling Stone, Lil Tay’s interview took place under the ‘watchful eye of two publicists’, with the online star sticking to three specific topics of conversation during the chat.
‘Really, there are only three things she wants to talk about: the importance of proper turnout, the Harry Potter franchise (she’s a Ravenclaw), and the fact that she was “contacted” for the role of Ashtray, the adolescent drug dealer in the hit series Euphoria something she mentions twice during our conversation,’ the interviewer explained – adding that Lil Tay’s publicist ‘later clarified that she was simply asked to read for the role, but wasn’t able to do so due to the ongoing court battle’.
Indeed, despite telling Rolling Stone that she wanted to ‘answer the questions that you have’ and also ‘explain things that people have been wondering’, the reporter notes that the teenager was ‘either uninterested in doing this or unable to’, adding that she even refused to confirm her age, instead describing herself as ‘timeless’.
About one month after the death hoax, Lil Tay released a teaser for her new song along with a snippet of her music video to her 5.5 million Instagram followers.
The video – which has already garnered a staggering one million likes – shows the star hanging out at a luxurious house in sunny Los Angeles while showing off lavish vehicles
Towards the beginning of the video, Tay’s brother Jason, 21, who is credited as a producer, and her mom also made brief cameos as they sat inside one of the expensive cars
‘IM BACK, IM BACK, IM BACK,’ she wrote. ‘YALL THOUGHT THE SHOW WAS OVER. SUCKER 4 GREEN OUT NOW!!!’
The video – which has already garnered a staggering one million likes – shows the star hanging out at a luxurious house in sunny Los Angeles while showing off lavish vehicles.
In the track, Lil Tay sings about luxury, with some lyrics including, ‘Money, money, money/I just can’t look away from it, I want it, want it, want it’ and ‘Nothin’ wrong with bein’ rich and blessed/And I just want a few yachts and mansions right now.’
She also showcased her dance skills by performing choreography with backup dancers that were all wearing black suits and green ties.
Tay donned various ensembles during the clip, such as a vibrant orange, pleated miniskirt and a matching cropped jacket.
Towards the beginning of the video, Tay’s brother Jason, 21, who is credited as a producer, and her mom, also made brief cameos as they sat inside one of the expensive cars.
Lil Tay maintains that her father was the source of the death hoax ‘as a last resort to sabotage’ her comeback.
The social media star garnered viral fame after she began posting videos in 2017 aged just nine.
Her controversial clips showed her cussing, insulting passersby, flashing stacks of cash and even starting fights as she claimed to be the ‘youngest flexer in the century’ and ‘above the haters.’
Her controversial clips showed her cussing, insulting passersby, flashing stacks of cash and even starting fights as she claimed to be the ‘youngest flexer in the century’ and ‘above the haters’
However, she became embroiled in furious controversy in 2018 amid allegations that she was being physically and mentally abused by her father (pictured together previously)
She had previously posted videos using language like n****, p****, and c*** to spark interest in her content and had later appeared on Good Morning America with her mother to defend her image.
But, despite the critics, Lil Tay quickly racked up millions of followers on Instagram alone and had been pegged as one of the internet’s biggest rising stars.
However, she became embroiled in furious controversy in 2018 amid allegations that she was being physically and mentally abused by her father as well as being exploited by her brother – with her mother also losing her job as a real estate agent over the youngster’s content.
Hope and the social media star seemingly had a strained relationship – with Lil Tay herself claiming she ‘did not have’ a father figure in a tribute to rapper XXXTentacion following his death in 2018.
Her brother Jason had previously set up a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise $19,000 for Lil Tay after levelling allegations of physical and mental abuse against Hope and his wife, Hanee.
Attempting to explain Lil Tay’s absence online, Jason, who is not Hope’s son, wrote: ‘My sister Tay has been silent on social media for the past three years because her absentee father (Chris Hope) served my mother a court order demanding control over Tay’s money, career, and custody, and as a result it was court ordered that my sister had to return to Vancouver, Canada.
‘He also requested through a court order to prevent her from speaking out about the truth.’
Jason then claimed that Hope had ‘stolen millions of dollars’ from the rising star for his own benefit.
Following the allegations, Harry Tsang, a spokesperson for Hope, told The Daily Beast in 2018 that the father did not want any money from his daughter – despite trademarking ‘Lil Tay,’ arguing ‘it was obvious that her mom hadn’t taken any steps to do things in a business-like manner.’
‘There are only three things he wants to see,’ Tsang said. ‘First, no more crazy videos of cursing from Tay.
‘Second, 25 per cent of the gross earnings going to a trust fund dedicated to Tay. The third thing is, there has to be structure in her operation, in her public image.’
In a previous interview with the publication about her online presence, Lil Tay said: ‘Right now I’m in a bad situation and I don’t want to talk about these things.’
When prompted for further clarification, she simply responded, ‘with Chris Hope,’ before adding: ‘It’s obvious he just came back because he wants money.’
It had also previously been revealed that Lil Tay’s mom had worked as a real estate agent in Vancouver, Canada, but lost her job after letting her daughter ‘flex’ in the employee cars as well as the homes she was supposed to be showing to other clients.
Lil Tay had previously sparked serious concern among her fanbase after she deleted all of her social media posts and wrote the words ‘help me’ on her Instagram Story.
She has been noticeably absent from social media in the recent years with her last post on the platform being in honor of rapper XXXTentacion, real name Jahseh Onfroy, who was shot dead aged 20 in 2018.
It read: ‘X you truly changed me. You were there for me when everyone wanted me to fail, you were there to give me advice, you were there.
‘As a father figure, when I don’t have one, you were here, FaceTiming me and calling me for hours when I’m down…
‘I can’t believe this, the evil in the world, This isn’t good Bye. I love you Bro.’
In May 2018, it was claimed that the young girl was actually being exploited by older brother Jason after a series of videos came out that showed him coaching her on what to say in her controversial posts and clips – with one capturing him giving her an instruction to ‘be more ignorant.’
After the videos emerged online, Lil Tay’s Instagram and YouTube accounts were quickly scrubbed – prompting speculation that the pressures of the spotlight had become too much for her and her family to handle.
A spokesperson for the family told Buzzfeed News at the time that Lil Tay’s brother was ‘rebranding’ her and urged fans to stay tuned for future updates on the young star.