Whitney Houston’s Funeral [VIDEO]
Whitney Houston will be be laid to rest today at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark today at a private, invitation only funeral that begins at 12noon.
The service marks exactly one week after the 48-year-old Houston — one of music’s all-time biggest stars — was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel in California. A cause of death has yet to be determined.
The service, being called a “Home Going” is titled “I Will Always Love You” according to TMZ which posted a photo of the funeral program. It includes pictures of the people important to Whitney Houston including her daughter Bobbi and menton Clive David. Bobby Brown is not included in the program.
CLOSE FRIENDS AND FAMILY ONLY
Close family friend Aretha Franklin, whom Houston lovingly called “Aunt Ree,” is expected to sing at the service, as is Stevie Wonder and gospel star CeCe Winans. Music mogul Clive Davis, who launched and shepherded her career throughout the decades, may speak, along with Kevin Costner, her co-star in the blockbuster film “The Bodyguard.”
Her ex-husband Bobby Brown also is expected to attend, along with the couple’s only child, Bobbi Kristina.
Houston’s death marked the final chapter for the superstar whose fall from grace while shocking was years in the making. Houston had her first No. 1 hit by the time she was 22, followed by a flurry of No. 1 songs and multi-platinum records.
Over her career, she sold more than 50 million records in the United States alone. Her voice, an ideal blend of power, grace and beauty, made classics out of songs like “Saving All My Love For You,” “I Will Always Love You,” “The Greatest Love of All” and “I’m Every Woman.” Her six Grammys were only a fraction of her many awards.
But amid the fame, a turbulent marriage to Brown and her addiction to drugs tarnished her image. She became a woman falling apart in front of the world.
ANOTHER PLANNED COMEBACK
Her last album, “I Look To You,” debuted on the top of the charts when it was released in 2009 with strong sales, but didn’t have the staying power of her previous records. A tour the next year was doomed by cancellations because of illness and sub-par performances.
Still, a comeback was ahead: She was to star in the remake of the movie “Sparkle” and was working on new music. Her family, friends and hard-core fans were hopeful.
The funeral is for invited guests only. Houston is scheduled to be buried next to her father, John Houston, in nearby Westfield,
The Associated Press contributed to this report.