TikTok personality/rapper Tray Little has launched a campaign hoping to invest in the Detroit community that raised him. The social media influencer is using his platform to promote homeownership with a play called “Buy the Block.”
In an interview with CBS News, he shared how his grandfather would give him $5 to go to the studio and record his songs when he was younger. The investment paid off and by the time he was 16, he started to tour and perform his music across the nation.
Traveling allowed him to see new things. Once he returned home, the way he saw his community bothered him. But he didn’t sit back and complain. Little came up with a plan that could revitalize a neighborhood he saw in shambles.
“We went back, and I’ve seen a lot of abandonment,” Little recalled. “And I remember it being filled with people, filled with houses, kids running up the block, green grass, and everything. And coming back it was hard to see that a lot of stuff was torn down and abandoned and trash everywhere.”
At the beginning of COVID-19 in 2020, he returned to his childhood home, which was on sale for a mere $1,000. While someone else was able to buy the house faster than he could, he started focusing on the entire block.
He took to social media and mobilized his followers to buy into his dream. In seven short months, his dreams are coming to fruition. Between his 1.5 million TikTok followers and 119,000 Instagram followers, he’s purchased a house and four lots on the street he grew up with.
“I’m thinking about gardens, and I want to renovate this house,” he said. “My goal is not to tear it down but to actually renovate it. I was being held accountable and encouraged by a lot of people, including people from the neighborhood.”
Little added he’s not done and wants people to consider that homeownership is about generational wealth that must be protected.
“When their great-great grandmas passed these houses down, or grandparents, they knew not to give this up,” he said. “So that’s the vision, showing people that them holding on and staying strong was worth it.”
Restoring his community is also not just altruistic, it also makes him feel good. He ended the interview by talking about how proud he is to have made a difference.
“I had a really rough life,” Little said. “So for me to be a part of something that’s bigger than myself is giving me a purpose every day.”