Beyoncé honours dancer who was fatally stabbed while dancing to her music: ‘Rest in power’

Professional dancer O’Shae Sibley was fatally stabbed while dancing to singer’s album Renaissance

Olivia Hebert
Los Angeles
Wednesday 02 August 2023 06:56 BST
Fatal stabbing at Brooklyn gas station being investigated as possible hate crime

Beyoncé has posted a tribute honouring 28-year-old professional dancer O’Shae Sibley after he was fatally stabbed while vogueing to her songs.

Vogueing is a form of dance that originated in New York’s Black queer and trans ballroom community, and was popularised by pop stars like Madonna, and reality competition juggernaut RuPaul’s Drag Race. A hate crimes investigation is now underway into the stabbing of Sibley, who was gay.

The pop icon took to her website on 1 August to write: “REST IN POWER O’SHEA SIBLEY.”

Sibley had been dancing to the singer’s latest studio album Renaissance, which is widely regarded as a love letter to the queer community and described by Entertainment Weekly as a “radical re-envisioning of the American Dream for the Black, queer, and trans folk who inspired it”.

The attack took place late Saturday night, when Sibley and a group of friends stopped at a Mobil gas station in the Brooklyn neighbourhood of Coney Island to fill up their tank. As they waited, Sibley began to dance to Beyoncé’s Renaissance.

A group of men approached them and asked them to stop vogueing. According to surveillance footage obtained by the New York Post, it was around 11pm that a brawl broke out between the two groups. Sibley’s friends rendered him first aid following the stabbing and called 911. Sibley was taken to Maimonides Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Local law enforcement are searching for a 17-year-old boy who allegedly told Sibley and his friends that the sight of them dancing shirtless offended him and his friends.

One of Sibley’s friends, Otis Pena, posted in a Facebook video: “They hated us cause we are gay!”

Sibley’s family, friends, and neighbours have condemned the violence that played a part in the dancer’s untimely death.

“I’m so angry, really angry and that’s a life lost over a simple thing,” Sibley’s neighbour Beckenbaur Hamilton told CBS. “They could have argued and could’ve talked and just left. They didn’t have to bring the violence in.”

Known for his joyful presence, Sibley was a member of modern dance company Ailey Extension and had performed at Lincoln Center.

The organisation released a statement saying: “We are shocked and heartbroken that O’Shae’s life has been taken by senseless violence and extend our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.”

His aunt Tondra Sibley described him to Gothamist as a “gentle spirit” who had moved to New York City to chase his dreams. She demanded justice for her nephew, deeming his death “senseless”.

Sibley’s father Jake Kelly has since started a GoFundMe page to raise funds for funeral costs.

While no arrests have been made as of Tuesday afternoon, police are investigating the stabbing as a possible hate crime. The NYPD is asking anyone with information to contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

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