Whitney Houston, one of the most successful female pop singers of all time, died at the age of 48 at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel on Saturday, February 11, 2012. She was apparently making plans to attend the annual Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Party that night. Her body was flown to Newark, New Jersey on Monday and the private, invitation only funeral will take place Saturday, February 18, 2012 at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark. Gospel singer and minister Marvin Winans will deliver the eulogy. The public will be able to view the funeral through a live stream online and on a number of television networks.
A private wake took place on Friday, February 17, 2012 without any cameras present. This allowed select family members and friends to pay their respects to Whitney Houston away from the public spotlight.
Speaking At Whitney Houston's Funeral
Cousin Dionne Warwick spoke and led the funeral service for Whitney Houston. Dionne Warwick is one of the top female pop singers of all time. She has released 12 top 10 singles and appeared more than 50 times on the Billboard Hot 100.
Music executive Clive Davis spoke at Whitney Houston's funeral. He was her mentor and signed her to her first recording contract with Arista Records in 1983. Clive Davis also shepherded Whitney Houston's return to recording that resulted in the 2009 album I Look To You.
Actor Kevin Costner also spoke at Whitney Houston's funeral. He co-starred with her in the hit 1992 film The Bodyguard. The soundtrack for the movie included Whitney Houston's biggest hit single "I Will Always Love You." The soundtrack also included the hits "I Have Nothing" and "I'm Every Woman."
Singing At Whitney Houston's Funeral
Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin sang at Whitney Houston's funeral performing the song "Stand." He has won three Grammy Awards and two of his albums have been certified platinum. He is also an ordained pastor.
Kim Burrell sang a rewritten version of Sam Cooke's hit "A Change Is Gonna Come." The song has frequently been adopted as a Civil Rights anthem. Kim Burrell is a gospel singer from Houston, Texas who has been widely influential on other performers.
Alicia Keys sang at Whitney Houston's funeral. She saw Whitney Houston as an inspiration while young, and then she became a friend as an adult. Alicia Keys has sold more than 15 million copies of her four studio albums in the US. She sang "Send Me An Angel," the song she contributed to the Hope For Haiti Now project.
Aretha Franklin was scheduled to sing at the funeral, but she had to cancel due to illness. She is a close friend of the family and was Whitney Houston's godmother. Aretha Franklin has often been referred to as "Lady Soul." She was the first female artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Aretha Franklin has 20 Grammy Awards and has reached the pop top 40 a total of 45 times.
Stevie Wonder also sang at Whitney Houston's funeral. He performed a slightly altered version of his hit "Ribbon In the Sky" and "Love's In Need Of Love Today." He is one of the most successful solo male recording artists of all time. He has won 22 Grammy Awards and Billboard listed him as #5 in their 2008 listing of the Top Hot 100 Recording Artists of all time.
R&B singer R. Kelly sang "I Look To You." He wrote the song as the title song for Whitney Houston's final studio album I Look To You. It was one of two songs he wrote for the album. "I Look To You" was released along with "Million Dollar Bill" as lead singles from the project. The song was a top 20 R&B hit and reached the pop, adult contemporary, dance, and gospel charts.
Gospel singer CeCe Winans sang her song "Don't Cry For Me" at the Whitney Houston funeral. The Winans family have been close friends with Whitney Houston. CeCe Winans and Whitney Houston released the duet single "Count On Me" from the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack. It was a top 10 pop hit in 1996.
A partial list of other celebrities expected or being reported to attend and/or take part in Whitney Houston's funeral.
- Mary J. Blige
- Jennifer Hudson
- Ray J
- Chaka Khan
- Gayle King
- Tyler Perry
- L.A. Reid
- Diane Warren
- Dionne Warwick
- BeBe and CeCe Winans
- Oprah Winfrey
Bobby Brown and Bobbi Kristina
Much speculation had swirled around whether or not ex-husband Bobby Brown would attend. He appeared briefly at the funeral. He is scheduled to perform with New Edition Saturday night in Connecticut, and he has not cancelled the performance. However, it does appear he could attend both events. The couple's daughter Bobbi Kristina is in attendance, and she has spent most of her time with her father since Whitney Houston's death.
Live Stream and Public Arrangements
The New Hope Baptist Church is asking fans to stay away from the Newark, New Jersey church. There will be nothing for them to see, and instead they are advised to watch the funeral from home. Among the networks expected to carry the event live on television beginning late Saturday morning are BET, CNN, E!, Fox News, and MSNBC. In addition the funeral will stream live on the Internet via a number of sites.
Whitney Houston will be buried Sunday, February 19, 2012 at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey. Her final resting place will be near her father John Russell Houston who died in 2003.