By Victor Ochieng
Cheryl Fortune, the wife of gospel singer James Fortune, is a domestic violence survivor. Her husband recently pleaded guilty of hitting her, earning him a 5-day jail term.
Cheryl’s singing has been affected by her situation, but she’s back on track to do what she enjoys, and that’s singing.
The singer, who in the past accompanied her husband during his tours, is now acting as a background singer to gospel artist Kirk Franklin in his “20 Years In One Night” tour.
“Honored to be on the stage with Kirk Franklin and this amazing team,” Cheryl wrote on Instagram after she sang at a sold-out concert held in Tower theater in Philadelphia on Wednesday. “My heart is grateful!! It’s a joy!! Incredible people!!!”
Cheryl’s life turned from good to bad following an October 2014 incident in which James hit her with a wooden stool, threw her on the wall, and kicked her while they were at their Stafford, Texas, home. Her happy face was gone and their family they’d been holding together was split, adding to her emotional distress.
According to a court verdict, James will have to go through five years of probation, spend five days behind bars and offer 175 hours of community work. He’ll also have to stay away from Cheryl. But that’s not all; James will also have to undergo a “batterer’s intervention” program.
It’s not the first time James has caused harm to a family member. In 2002, the singer burned his 4-year-old son’s body allegedly to instill discipline in the child. More than 40% of the boy’s body suffered burns. For that incident, he was sentenced to six years of probation.
In the latest case, James pleaded guilty in a plea deal reached with the prosecution.
Cheryl’s victim impact statement, which was read in the court by the prosecution said: “I hope in all of this you get help. Serious help,” she wrote. “Although this probation might be like a slap on the wrist, I hope you look at it as a moment to better yourself and change something within you for your future.”
Although the singer didn’t say anything as he left court, his mother made comment on the case saying his son wasn’t guilty but fell short of clarifying her statement.
By going back to singing, Cheryl we hope she’ll be able to overcome her emotional stress and be happy again.