Celebration of life for dancer fatally stabbed at NYC gas station to be held in Philadelphia

Thursday, August 3, 2023
Dancer with ties to Philly fatally stabbed at NYC gas station
The stabbing death of a beloved dancer with ties to Philadelphia is now being investigated as a possible hate crime.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A viewing and celebration of life ceremony for the former Philadanco! dancer who was stabbed to death in Brooklyn, New York will be held next week in Philadelphia.

According to the funeral home's website, a viewing will be held for O'Shae Sibley from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday, August 8 at The Met Philadelphia. A Celebration of Life will follow at 11 a.m.

Sibley will be buried at Fernwood Cemetery in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania.

Joan Myers Brown, the founder of the Philadelphia Dance Company, also known as Philadanco!, said she remembers the first time she saw Sibley when he came to the studio.

"He was 14. Busybody! And he just wanted to be a dancer," she said.

Myers Brown has seen gay Black men in dance face hardship and hate. Sibley attended Philadanco! dance classes on scholarship.

"(He was) coming from North Philly, where the guys teased you for being a dancer, he persevered," said Myers Brown.

Sibley moved to New York City to pursue his dream of dance. Myers Brown says he was studying dance at the famed Ailey School while dancing at various venues as he waited for his big break in the business.

Tragically, Sibley was dancing in some of the last moments of his life. The 28-year-old was with his friend on Saturday night at a gas station in Brooklyn. They were voguing, which involves a rhythmic series of poses inspired by modeling. Friends who were with Sibley say a group of young men started yelling homophobic slurs.

"(They said) we're Muslims and we don't like this in our neighborhood," Myers Brown said of the story that was relayed to her.

Surveillance video shows Sibley walking up to the group that was said to be harassing them. Friends say he was trying to stand up for them.

Moments later, there is a confrontation in which Sibley is stabbed. His death is being investigated as a possible hate crime in New York as the Philadelphia District Attorney's office sees a rise in crimes against the LGBTQ+ community.

New York Police are looking for a 17-year-old who was seen in the surveillance video in a physical confrontation with Sibley. According to ABC News, the 17-year-old has a history of arrests, but the records are sealed because he is a minor.

Philadanco! has also started a GoFundMe to help his family. Dancers from Philadanco! will perform at Sibley's funeral service.