Whitney Houston Funeral: Stars to Honor Singer

Feb 18, 2012 10:33am
abc gma whitney 090722 ms Whitney Houston Funeral: Stars to Honor Singer

                                                                                                                  ABC

ABC News’ Sheila Marikar and Alyssa Newcomb report:

Whitney Houston’s casket arrived at Newark, N.J.’s New Hope Baptist Church today while mourners began streaming into the church in preparation for the star’s 12 p.m. funeral.

The singer will be buried Sunday in Westfield N.J.’s Fairview Cemetery. She will be laid to rest next to her father, John Russell Houston, who died in 2003. Media will be able to start setting up at 6 a.m. Sunday and arrangements for street closures have been made.

On Friday, TMZ released a photo of the invitation to the Saturday service. The invitation stipulated that the event will be a “going home service,” which is more upbeat than a traditional funeral.

Come to ABCNews.com starting at noon Saturday for a stream of the funeral service.

On Friday night, members of Houston’s family and inner circle were seen getting out of gold limousines for a private viewing at a funeral home. Among them were Bobbi Kristina, Cissy Houston and Clive Davis.

Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown, is expected to attend. Brown performed in Maryland Thursday night and is scheduled to perform in Connecticut following the Saturday service.

He was by the side of his daughter with Houston, Bobbi Kristina, for much of this week. She was hospitalized for stress and anxiety after Houston’s Feb. 11 death.

“My daughter Bobbi Kristina is doing much better,” Brown said in an email statement to ABCNews.com Tuesday. “We continue to provide love and support to Bobbi Kristina. She is dealing with the tragedy of her mother’s death and would prefer to do it outside of the public eye. I ask again that our privacy be respected.”

One of Houston’s family members told ABC News that while many people in the family don’t want Brown to attend the funeral, they can’t stop him because of his connection with Bobbi Kristina.

READ: Top 10 Things You May Not Know About Whitney Houston

Stevie Wonder is confirmed to sing at the service. Aretha Franklin, who had been confirmed as a performer, said today she will not sing at Houston’s funeral.

Kevin Costner, Houston’s “Bodyguard” co-star, will speak, People magazine reported Thursday.

Houston’s record producer from the start of her career, Clive Davis, will speak also eulogize the singer.

N.J.’s Star-Ledger newspaper reported that Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby will attend, along with the Revs. Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Others confirmed on the guest list are Chaka Khan, Bebe and CeCe Winans, songwriter Diane Warren, pop singer Darlene Love, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Brandy and Ray J, the singer Houston was rumored to be in a relationship with before her death on Saturday.

Mel Gibson was also invited to the funeral, but is not expected to be in attendance. Gibson had tried to help Houston in some of her worst days, a gesture her family was always grateful for, TMZ reported.

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