28-year-old professional dancer and choreographer O’Shea Sibley was stabbed to death (Photo: Philadanco! / Facebook)
A teenager has been arrested and charged with the hate crime murder of gay dancer and choreographer O’Shea Sibley in New York City last week.
Sibley, 28, was fatally attacked after he and his friends vogued and danced to Beyoncé’s Renaissance album at a petrol station on 29 July.
Their dancing apparently offended a group of young men who shouted homophobic and racist slurs, demanding they stop. The altercation turned physical, resulting in the suspect stabbing Sibley in the chest.
The teenager fled the scene in a vehicle but was later arrested by the police. Sibley was pronounced dead at the hospital the same night.
The 17-year-old suspect, whose name is withheld due to being a minor, faces charges of second-degree murder as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon.
Last week, Beyoncé paid tribute to the slain dancer on her website. Several vigils in which dancers vogued in defiance were also held in the city to remember and honour Sibley.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams unequivocally labeled the murder a hate crime during a press conference at the crime scene on Saturday. He dismissed any suggestion that the suspect’s Islamic faith implied an attack by the Muslim community against the LGBTQ+ community.
Adams asserted, “That was in fact not true. Both are important communities in the city of New York… and both stand against any form of hate.”
He continued, “Our message today to both the Muslim community and the LGBT+ community: This is a city where you are free to express yourself, and that expression should never lead to violence.”
Sonya Ali, the executive director of the city’s Muslim Community Center, also spoke at the press conference.
“As Muslims, we are commanded to stand up for justice, even if it means standing against our own selves. We unequivocally condemn the unjust murder of O’Shea,” she said. “Such acts are among the greatest forms of injustice one can commit.”
GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ media advocacy organisation, highlighted that Sibley’s murder marked the fifth violent LGBTQ+ death in recent weeks in the US.
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis emphasised, “The arrest of a suspect is only one measure of justice for O’Shae and all LGBTQ people who just want to be themselves and be safe. We must hold accountable anyone whose words and actions are used to harm vulnerable people.”
Ellis added, “O’Shae’s memory should forever inspire us to be courageous as ourselves, to accept each other with joy and gratitude, and to honor artists who envision possibility and freedom.”