Whitney Houston's funeral Saturday will be broadcast

17 February 2012 06:04 am - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Saturday's funeral for legendary pop singer Whitney Houston is expected to be made available for television and web streaming from the New Jersey church where she grew up, Houston's publicist said Wednesday.

The services, to be held at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, will be in a much smaller, more intimate setting than the concert halls and arenas Houston packed during her heyday.

In every sense, she will be going home.

Publicists and entertainers by Wednesday had confirmed nearly a dozen celebrities and personalities will be in some of the 1,500 coveted, "invitation-only" seats.

Actor Kevin Costner, who starred with Houston in the movie "The Bodyguard," will speak, and singers Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin -- Houston's godmother -- will perform, according to a source with knowledge of the funeral plans.

Gospel singer and pastor Marvin L. Winans, a longtime friend of the Houston family, will give the eulogy at New Hope Baptist Church. Winans officiated at Houston's 1992 marriage to R&B singer Bobby Brown.

Asked why no public memorial service was planned, Winans told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night the family didn't "want to have a parade."

"I don't think knowing Cissy (Houston's mother) and the Houston family ... it was a matter of public or private as it was this is my daughter, this is my sister, this is my mother, this is my friend and we want to do this with dignity."

The family's thinking, Winans told "AC360," is "we loved her when she was Nippy (a nickname) in New Jersey. The world loves her because of her voice. But if Nippy could not sing, the Houston family would love her."

Although the family is not commenting on Houston's burial location, her death certificate filed Wednesday in Los Angeles lists it as Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey.

A message left by CNN with the cemetery office was not immediately returned.

Others confirmed on the guest list are Chaka Khan, Bebe & CeCe Winans, songwriter Diane Warren, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, pop singer Darlene Love, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Antonio "L.A." Reid, Ray J and Brandy. Houston's cousin, singer Dionne Warwick, was in New Jersey helping the family with funeral arrangements, Warwick's publicist said

Chaka Khan was a close friend of Houston. Reid produced many of Houston's songs and Jakes co-produced Houston's last film, "Sparkle," which is scheduled to be released this summer. Houston and Jakes are listed as producers.

Ray J, a hip-hop artist, and Houston dated off and on after she was divorced from Brown.

Jackson and the Winans music family have been very close friends of the Houstons.

Composer-singer Valerie Simpson of the duo Ashford & Simpson told CNN's Susan Candiotti she will attend the funeral.

"She was like family," Simpson said of Houston, "somebody who I watched from the time she was young."

Simpson, who with her late partner Nick Ashford wrote "I'm Every Woman," said Houston "took it to such heights. I remember that on the video, she was pregnant and never looked more beautiful." Houston and Brown had a daughter, Bobbi Christina Brown, who is now 18.

Houston, 48, was found dead in the bathtub of her suite at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday, hours before she was to attend a pre-Grammys bash at the Beverly Hills, California, hotel. Speculation has grown over the cause of her death, which has not been determined pending the outcome of toxicology tests that could take weeks.

The entertainer's trials and tribulations should not be the focus now, Simpson said. "Those are not her records, those are not her music." (CNN)
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  • Tony Haniffa Friday, 17 February 2012 10:13 AM

    I always liked you . you are my star.

    Fair N Square Friday, 17 February 2012 10:43 AM

    Good bye WITHNEY....

    nO MATTER WHAT HEIGHTS WE REACH, WE HAVE TO ONE DAY LEAVE BEHIND EVERYTHING....

    Do pray before others pray for you....

    fazli Friday, 17 February 2012 08:44 AM

    Good bye honey

    Janith Perera Friday, 17 February 2012 10:00 AM

    Rest In Peace dear Whitney, You'r voice will remain forever in our heart!


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