Metro Weekly

GoFundMe Launched to Cover Murdered Gay Dancer’s Funeral Costs

Fundraising page has already raised more than $40,000 in honor of 28-year-old professional dancer O'Shae Sibley.

O’Shae Sibley – Photo: Jake Kelly, via GoFundMe.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family of a gay man who was murdered at a Brooklyn gas station cover the costs of his funeral expenses.

O’Shae Sibley, a 28-year-old professional dancer and member of an LGBTQ dance troupe, was fatally stabbed following an altercation, allegedly instigated by a group of onlookers, who reportedly objected — on religious grounds — to him and three friends vogueing to a Beyoncé song while filling up their car’s tank at the gas station, located in New York City’s conservative Midwood neighborhood.

“We are raising funds for his home going service to help cover costs due to this untimely and undeserved hate crime incident that cut my son’s life down just because of his sexual preference, which was just not fair to him, in his prime,” Jake Kelly, Sibley’s father and the organizer of the fundraiser, wrote on the GoFundMe page.

“O’Shae not only was the glue to this family, he was a great dancer and performer for the majority of his life,” Kelly added. “His spirit lit up every room he stepped in. His smile was contagious! To know him, was to live him. He did not deserve this. Everyone loved his spirit.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than $40,000 had been raised to covers the funeral costs for Sibley — well exceeding the fundraiser’s initial $10,000 goal.

According to police and witnesses, the alleged assailant, who still remains at large, is a 17-year-old male who identifies as Muslim and allegedly took offense at a member of Sibley’s friend group dancing in a tight-fitting and short-cut bathing suit. Two separate altercations between Sibley’s group and the bystanders occurred in the span of a few minutes, with the second leading to a physical scuffle in which Sibley was stabbed in the torso.

Sibley was transported to Maimonides Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

Witnesses said the teenage assailant made anti-LGBTQ comments prior to the stabbing. Due to those comments, and the possibility that the crime may have been motivated by anti-gay bias, the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the attack.

No arrests have been made in the case. Anyone with information about the stabbing is asked to contact NYPD Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting the Crime Stoppers website, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) and entering TIP577 along with any tips. Tips can be provided anonymously.

Kelly re-posted a statement by The Ailey organization, the dance troupe to which his son belonged, to the GoFundMe page.

“The Ailey organization mourns the tragic death of O’Shae Sibley, who was a cherished and devoted participant in our Ailey Extension program of dance classes,” the troupe said in a statement. “O’Shae had incredible energy in the studio and was loved by instructors and fellow students. … 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.”

Mayor Eric Adams, himself a former police officer, called the incident a hate crime in public statements.

“O’Shae Sibley’s life and beautiful spirit were cut short by homophobia,” Adams later tweeted. “Bigotry can never take root in our city. Being a New Yorker means knowing and loving people of all backgrounds. We’ll bring justice for O’Shae’s family and loved ones. His dancing joy will live on.”

U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), an openly gay Afro-Latino, called Sibley’s death “a shocking act of homophobic hate.”

“Sibley was murdered because of who he was. As an openly gay Black man myself, I feel deeply in my heart that ours should be a city and a country where we are free to be who we are without fear of intimidation, harassment, violence, and murder,” Torres said in a statement. “An attack on the LGBTQI+ community is an attack on all of us as free people.”

Beyoncé Knowles, whose ballroom-inspired Renaissance album Sibley and friends had been dancing to prior to the stabbing — according to a video from Otis Pena, one of the friends with Sibley when he was killed — paid tribute to the 28-year-old dancer, who was well-known in New York’s ballroom scene, on her website.

“Rest in Power O’Shae Sibley,” the website reads.

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