Janelle Monáe and Ellen leads tributes to gay stabbing victim and dancer O’Shae Sibley
Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres and Janelle Monáe have paid tribute to O’Shae Sibley, the gay dancer who was stabbed to death in New York on Saturday (29 July).
Sibley, 28, was attacked at a petrol station in Coney Island while he and some friends were voguing to music from Beyoncé’s Renaissance album.
According to eye-witnesses, the group was approached by a gang of men, who told them to stop dancing, using homophobic slurs. Sibley reportedly stood up to the them before being stabbed.
The dancer was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
The police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, and are reportedly seeking a 17-year-old man in connection with the stabbing.
Following Sibley’s death, tributes to the “unique” and “charismatic” dancer have poured in from loved ones, politicians, celebrities and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
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Talk show host DeGeneres wrote on her Instagram story: “O’Shae Sibley was a dancer. Last Saturday he was dancing with his friends while they were getting gas until a group of men approached them, yelled gay slurs at them, then killed him.
“Until we are all free to be who we are, none of us are free.”
Musician Monáe reposted details of a memorial event at the petrol station where Sibley died. She followed this with a reposted video of Sibley dancing to a Beyoncé song, along with several sad emojis.
Earlier this week, Beyoncé herself paid tribute to the dancer, posting a simple message on her website which reads: “Rest in power O’Shae Sibley”.
Star Trek actor George Takei echoed the message in a tweet.
A vigil was held for Sibley outside the iconic LGBTQ+ bar Stonewall Inn in New York on Thursday (3 August), Spectrum News reported.
Kristian Miranda, a friend of Sibley who said they were both involved in the ballroom scene, said his death makes her “scared every day”, adding: “I vogue on the street every day, ballroom is chosen family… that’s what really brought us together. And of course voguing. Voguing is an expression. It’s a feeling inside.”
Miranda added that Sibley’s dream was to perform and that he was “always a beacon of light”.
Otis Pena, a friend of Sibley who was with him when he died, posted a Facebook live hours after the attack, claiming he was murdered “because he’s gay, because he stood up for his friends”.
Pena added: “We as a community don’t deserve this… we may be gay, but we exist. We’re not going to live in fear. We’re not going to live hiding.”
New York politicians, including state senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, condemned the attack.
“Heart-broken and enraged to learn about O’Shae Sibley’s death this weekend in New York. Despite homophobes’ best efforts, gay joy is not crime. Hate-fuelled attacks are,” he wrote on Twitter.
Congressman Ritchie Torres added: “As a gay Black man myself, I feel deeply in my heart that ours should be a city and a country where we are free to be who we are without fear of intimidation, harassment, violence and murder.
“An attack on the LGBTQI+ community is an attack on all of us as free people.”
A GoFundMe to help cover the costs of Sibley’s funeral service has so far raised more than $54,000 (£42,300).
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