O’Shae Sibley: Gay dancer’s funeral sees tributes and moving dance performance

O'Shae Sibley

Family, friends and mourners gathered together to pay tribute to O’Shae Sibley, a gay dancer stabbed to death in New York.

Hundreds gathered in Philadelphia, Sibley’s hometown, to lay him to rest on Tuesday (8 August).

The 28-year-old was stabbed dead at a gas station in Brooklyn, New York, after a group confronted him and his friends for dancing to Beyoncé’s Renaissance.

A 17-year-old male has since been charged with the hate-motivated murder of Sibley and has been taken into custody.

The funeral was billed as “The Grand Finale of O’Shae Leon ‘Sage’ Sibley” in its order of service, and included tributes as well as a dance performance by Philadanco!, the dance company where Sibley trained.

“He was going to go far. He was an amazing dancer and an even better friend,” D’Angelo Cameron told Action News on 6ABC.

You may like to watch

“Without him, it’s like the night without the moon,” Sibley’s sister Dezirah Kelly told the news channel.

Philadanco! founder Joan Meyers Brown told 6ABC she hoped that some good would come out of Sibley’s death, “because so many more young men will know, it’s OK to dance”.

The dance company has created a scholarship in Sibley’s name and is fundraising to help his family, 6ABC reported.

O’Shea Sibley’s death triggered tributes and outpourings of grief across the world.

LGBTQ+ organisation GLAAD said it follows a “disturbing rise in violence and harassment against LGBTQ+ people across the US.

“No one should have to fear for their safety just for being themselves,” GLAAD said.

The New York Police Department was called to a petrol station near Coney Island on 29 July where they found a wounded Sibley. He later died from his injuries.

An argument reportedly broke out between Sibley and the group after they began shouting anti-gay slurs at him and his friends for voguing in the streets.

The unnamed suspect, who was the only individual charged in the altercation, reportedly handed himself in to police on 4 August and remains in custody.

Members of the community have taken to the streets to commemorate his life in vigils across the US.

Videos published on social media showed mourners across New York holding a memorial ball dedicated to O’Shae Sibley, with attendees saying it was “beautiful.”

Celebrity stars also paid tribute to the 28-year-old, with Beyoncé posting a simple message on her website reading: “Rest in power, O’Shae Sibley.”

Janelle Monáe reposted details of a memorial service at the petrol station where Sibley died along with a clip of him dancing to a Beyoncé song.

Congressman and New York representative, Ritchie Torres, wrote: “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.”

His friend, Otis Pena, who was with him when he died, started a Facebook livestream hours after the attack, claiming he was murdered “because he’s gay, because he stood up for his friends.”

“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.”

A GoFundMe covering the cost of of the funeral raised over $64,600 of its $10,000 target at the time of reporting.

Please login or register to comment on this story.