Friends, family, and mourners attended a celebration of life for Brooklyn dancer O’Shae Sibley at a historic opera house on Tuesday, August 08, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
About 200 mourners attended Sibley’s homegoing service in the city where he grew up before moving to Brooklyn.
The 28-year-old member of the Philadelphia Dance Company was voguing with three friends at a Brooklyn gas station on July 29th when he was fatally stabbed by a Muslim teenager who said his dancing offended his religion.
Surveillance camera footage showed the altercation between’s Sibley’s group and several teenagers had broken up and they had walked away. But Sibley and his friends returned to confront the 17-year-old, who was recording with his cell phone.
Sibley is seen following the suspect across the parking lot and lunging at him, but the stabbing wasn’t captured on camera.
The 17-year-old suspect turned himself in to Brooklyn police on August 4. He is charged with murder, a hate crime, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony.
The teen suspect’s attorney and mother said he is actually a Christian who wears a cross and goes to church.
Karen Pendergrass, a teacher at the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts remembered Sibley as a shy 14-year-old who kept popping his head in her classroom door.
“You’ve got one more time to come past my door and then you’re coming through my door,” she told Sibley at the time. “He took that class, he got a scholarship and from there he just flourished.”
A dance scholarship will be set up in Sibley’s name, Pendergrass said.
“O’Shae had the power to touch everyone’s heart, whoever met him,” said Otis Pena, Sibley’s close friend who was at the gas station and witnessed his murder. “O’Shae was a beacon of light for a lot of us in our community.”