Farewell to Whitney: Breaking Barriers

Whitney Houston defied norms in a kiss with Kevin Costner in "The Bodyguard."
5:27 | 02/17/12

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Transcript for Farewell to Whitney: Breaking Barriers
A daughter said goodbye to her famous mother Bobbi Kristina the daughter of Whitney Houston insists he used in the star's mother. Pay their respects -- a private wake in Newark, New Jersey. A crowd of music greats are gathering there in New York to say farewell -- -- talent the world will not soon forget that talent. Carey Whitney Houston away from home young. The talent alone cannot account for the trailblazing figured she became here's ABC's Linda Davis. It's -- -- the last song Whitney Houston performed on stage just last Thursday would be Jesus loves me. After all Whitney Houston was a product of the gospel tradition. Her service tomorrow -- being called a home going and in this case the term is as literal as it is figured it. It's a nod to the return to heaven -- the voice so often described as a gift from god. In her hometown of Newark, New Jersey a celebration of her religious roots. The service will take place at the church where it all began the new hope Baptist Church. In the sanctuary tomorrow. Choir of celebrated sooners are expected to perform including her godmother -- Aretha Franklin. An icon Stevie Wonder. Gospel great Marvin Winans will give the eulogy Houston's long time producer and mentor Clive Davis is also slated to speak. Among the 15100 invited guests Oprah Winfrey Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys. There are all expected to be part of the celebration of the life of an extraordinary woman who touched so many lives. For me and many other women of color she was a woman who broke barriers. -- -- Really really transcended race and didn't really think of her as -- Relaxing you just thought of -- as Whitney one mourner tomorrow was there when Houston broke one of those barriers. Two decades after starring opposite Houston in -- bodyguard Kevin Costner is again expected to play a leading role. -- -- It was Costner who played a pivotal role in Houston's -- from the pop charts to the big screen with the movie the bodyguard. A movie that boosted her wattage as a mega star. Remember Whitney before she was in them. And I just look at Harrison -- -- currently. She just really hasn't it in the 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer she describe just how fearful she was to do you said you were scared to death on the. -- Terribly frightened. I mean can Coxnet. At the Y me. He said because in one concerning. Houston's film debut was a megahit making over 400 million dollars. Not only featured that iconic loved. There was that. 360. Degree shot of his unforgettable kiss. A black woman. It was interesting that the bodyguard also came out the year of the Rodney King riots when. You know tension between the races was very much in the news and and very much a concern of everyone then there was the bodyguard. Where this interracial romance -- card and really no one discussed it. Of course there have been others including the groundbreaking and first ever interracial kiss on the big screen in the movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. And there were many subsequent -- with actors Wesley Snipes and Laurence Fishburne to name a few. But those movies made interracial love their pivotal plot points this hugely successful in mainstream film seem to transcend race. Two big stars not a white man and a black woman it was more about that and I think that speaks the power. -- Whitney Houston. It was just one more moment in a career of breaking barriers. In 1981 she was one of the first black models to grace the cover of Seventeen Magazine. And as a young woman her mentor Clive Davis molded her into a crossover music sensation. Houston holds the billboard record for most consecutive number one singles. Seven in a row from 1985. Through 1988. Including. Saving all my love for you and so emotional. In 1995. She took them we'll be waiting to exhale to number one at the box office it grossed more than 67 million dollars. Still a record for a black film featuring an all black. Female cast she really succeeded in breaking down barriers. And that's what's most important. And -- race continues to tear this nation her accomplishments -- against the line between the races -- in -- been bridged by Houston. Whether it was her unmatched rendition of the National Anthem. -- Or this searing and soaring single known that this week. Seems to define a life. For Nightline I'm Lindsey Davis in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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