It was a celebration of the extraordinary life and music of an icon and a legend as the world bid goodbye to one of God’s favorite daughters. Whitney Houston’s funeral at Newark, N.J.’s New Hope Baptist Church was attended by a close set of friends and family including Oprah Winfrey, Brandy, Ray J, Alicia Keys, Monica, Mariah Carey, Kevin Costner, Tyler Perry among others.
The ceremony was presided over by Whitney’s cousin Dionne Warwick, while Alicia Keys, R. Kelly, Stevie Wonder among others sang vocal tributes to the late diva.
Whitney’s ex-husband Bobby Brown left abruptly mid-way, apparently due his dissatisfaction at the way he and his entourage were being treated by security. Aretha Franklin, who was supposed to sing at the ceremony, was a no-show reportedly due to her ill health.
Music mogul and Whitney’s mentor Clive Davis said, “You wait for a voice like that for a lifetime.”
The Rev. Joe A Carter began the ceremony by saying, “We are here today, hearts broken but yet with God’s strength we celebrate the life of Whitney Houston,”
Whitney’s mother and daughter, Cissy Houston and Bobbi Kristina sat in the front row, and in a letter to her daughter published at the ceremony, Cissy wrote,
“I never told you that when you were born, the Holy Spirit told me that you would not be with me long, and I thank God for the beautiful flower he allowed me to raise and cherish for 48 years. Rest, my baby girl in peace. mommie.”
Kevin Costner fought back the tears as he gave a heartfelt tribute to his friend and co-star from the film ‘The Bodyguard‘.
After the ceremony, Whitney’s casket was carried away to the song that remains Whitney’s signature hit and a timeless classic, ‘I Will Always Love You’.
No eyes were left dry after the ceremony, and as a fan, this hit close to home. It’s another voice silenced forever, falling prey to the dark side of fame. Hope she’s finally at peace now, something that she was yearning for over the last few years of her extraordinary life.
R.I.P Whitney. You’ll be missed.