Whitney Houston’s funeral will be held at the church that set off her career, New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. The family has decided against holding a public memorial but opted instead to stream the invite-only ceremony live on the internet. Celebrities like Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder will sing at the service, while more big names are expected to attend the service. Houston’s eulogy will be lead by the same man who married Houston and Bobby Brown in 1991, Pastor Marvin Winans. Contrary to reports, the family has denied that Bobby Brown is being kept from the funeral and is expected to be there with his and Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Christina.
Whitney Houston’s official funeral is set to start tomorrow, however, E! Online has reported that Houston’s closest friends and family have chosen, “to pay their initial respects to the singer tonight, away from the glare of the cameras.”
According to ABC, there are speculations as to what celebrities will attend the service including Bill Cosby and Oprah Winfrey. There are many confirmed attendees including Revs. Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Chaka Khan. Siblings Brandy and Ray J. will also be attending; Ray J has been connected with Whitney Houston recently and it has been rumored that they were in a relationship at the time of her death.
Mel Gibson has also been rumored as being an invite to Whitney Houston’s funeral. According to TMZ, “the family extended the invite because Mel tried to help the singer during a very dark period in her life.” Apparently, Gibson “quietly intervened” when Houston was at her worst in her constant battle with drugs and alcohol. Mel Gibson “spent a lot of time with her, trying to help her break the addiction cycle.” TMZ reports, however, that Gibson will not be attending the funeral because of “family plans”.
New Jersey’s Governor, Chris Christie, has had to defend his decision to hang flags at the states government buildings at half-staff tomorrow in honor of the Newark born singer. According to the Washington Post, Gov. Christie used his Twitter to back up his decision from critics and during a press conference when he announced the plan, he stated, “Obviously, Whitney Houston was an important part of the cultural fabric of this state…I think she belongs in the same category from a musical perspective in New Jersey history with folk like Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and Bruce Springsteen. She was a cultural icon in this state.”