A funeral will be held Tuesday in Philadelphia for O’Shae Sibley, who was fatally stabbed after he confronted teenagers who taunted his group of gay, Black friends as they danced at a New York City gas station.
Friends of the slain 28-year-old were expected to celebrate his life at a historic opera house in the city where Sibley grew up and performed before moving to New York to pursue his career as a dancer. He had performed with the dance company Philadanco and used dance to celebrate his LGBTQ+ identity.
Brooklyn prosecutors have charged a 17-year-old high school student with hate-motivated murder in the death of Sibley, who was Black.
The stabbing happened after a group of teenagers got into an argument with Sibley and his friends as they danced shirtless to a Beyoncé song while they gassed up their car.
Police said the teens used homophobic slurs and made anti-Black statements.
Security camera video showed the argument had broken up and both groups had walked away when Sibley and his friends abruptly returned and crossed a parking lot to confront the white 17-year-old, who was recording with his phone.
In the video, Sibley could be seen following the teen and then lunging at him. The stabbing happened out of a clear view of the cameras.
At least one witness told reporters some of the teens had objected to the dancers’ behavior because they were Muslim. The mother and lawyer of the 17-year-old boy charged in the stabbing, though, said he is actually a Christian who wears a cross and goes to church.
The teen’s grandmother told the Daily News he was just defending himself.
Sibley’s death prompted an outpouring of tributes from politicians and some celebrities, including Beyoncé and the filmmaker Spike Lee.