Trigger warning: hate-fueled violence and murder.
O’Shae Sibley, 28, was attacked by a gang of men and stabbed to death for vogueing in the parking lot of a gas station.
According to the New York Times, Sibley was with a group of friends listening to Beyonce’s Renaissance and dancing at a Brooklyn gas station when a group of men approached them. The men reportedly called Sibley and his friends gay slurs and told them to stop dancing. Sibley confronted the group and was then stabbed in the abdomen by one of the men. Sibley was rushed to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.
Otis Pena, a friend who was reportedly at the scene, posted a Facebook video shortly after his death. Pena stated that his friend was killed “because he’s gay, because he stood up for his friends.”
Pena continued, “His name was O’Shae and you all killed him. You all murdered him right in front of me.”
The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force has taken on this case to be investigated as a hate crime. No arrests have been made.
Sibley is remembered for his “goofy” humor and prolific dancing career. He was a professional dancer and choreographer who had moved from Philadelphia to NY before the pandemic, in search of more audition opportunities. Sibley was in a ballroom troupe called House of DuMure-Versailles, which was featured in season 3 of HBO’s ballroom reality competition Legendary. Aaliyah DuMure Versailles, the ballroom troupe’s founder, posted a tribute to Sibley on Facebook.
“We live in a time where we can be our authentic selves, but we also live in times where people authentically hate us for having such freedom,” Aaliyah DuMure Versailles said. “We have to be careful y’all. Defending yourself just isn’t worth it anymore. Just walk away the moment you sense any type of trouble.”
Brad Hoylman-Sigal, a gay state senator in New York, tweeted, “Gay joy is not crime. Hate-fueled attacks are.”
“It was a senseless crime,” Tondra Sibley, Mr. Sibley’s aunt said. “O’Shae has always been a peacemaker. All he wanted to do was dance.”