Coko of SWV Receives Accolade for Taking in Her Cousin’s Twins After Tragic Death

by Xara Aziz
Instagram @therealcokoswv

SWV’s lead singer Cheryl “Coko” Gamble is being commended in a major way after taking in her cousin’s twins after their mother succumbed to a battle with lupus.

Sheila Laney is the mother to twins DJ and Nevea, 12. Right before she died, she contracted COVID-19. Coko promised Laney that should anything happen to her, she would take in her children as her own.

“She was sick,” Coko told PEOPLE in an interview. “She had lupus, and we feel like she knew that she was sick already and that she wouldn’t be here much longer because she was getting things in order. We were like, ‘Of course, sure, no problem,’ and she was getting paperwork in order and everything. Shortly thereafter, she got really sick and she passed away, and so here we are today.”

Following Laney’s death, Coko and her mother, Lady Tibba Gamble, 76, moved the siblings from New York to Virginia “without thinking twice.”

“It’s family,” Coko says. “I would want somebody to do that for me. [I’m] pretty sure my mom would’ve wanted somebody to do that for her, so when she asked it was like a no-brainer, absolutely. I have the room. We were just that tight. She knew we had her back and we knew that she had ours, if anything ever happened.”

Coko says the twins are loving their new lives in Virginia and are adjusting well. She in now learning how to care for Nevea, who has special needs.

“Nevea is autistic and DJ, he’s just brilliant,” Coko explains. “It’s been very loud. I’m used to it being quiet because my kids are grown. It’s been very active, and we stay busy. Because my mother, myself and Jayye, he’s here, my youngest son. My mom gets up in the morning with them. I do Nevea’s hair, Jayye picks out the clothes. It’s like teamwork.”

Lady Tibba added: “The children aren’t that much of a problem. As long as you feed them and they’re able to play their games, they pretty much entertain themselves.”

Although some days are harder than others, Coko said, she wouldn’t trade her position as the caretaker for her twins.

“It’s challenging,” Coko explained. “But I think we needed this because I was ready to just prepare to take my mother and let’s go off into the sunset. But God had other plans for us.”

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