See all of the complete coverage of this emotional tribute to the incredible singer.
Whitney Houston‘s Feb. 18 funeral has brought dozens of A-list stars to the New Hope Baptist Church in Westfield, New Jersey, and HollywoodLife.com has complete coverage of the whole ceremony.
Whitney, who died at 48, is being celebrated by a huge guest list at the invite-only service, including Alicia Keys, Clive Davis, Tyler Perry, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Kim Burrell, Rickey Minor, Donnie McClurkin, Marvin Winans and Cece Winans, L.A. Reid, Brandy and Ray J. Other A-list talents such as Oprah Winfrey and Mariah Carey came to pay their respects, remaining in the audience in order not to take attention away from their fallen friend.
The service began with rousing spiritual songs, an incredible reminder of Whitney’s early days in the church’s choir and the joy that music brought to her life.
As the music quieted, there was an introduction from A. Curtis Farrow, minister of music at the church, who said he had been helping the family all week through their loss.
Following him was a brief message of love from Newark mayor Cory Booker, who shared his condolences.
Next up was Rev. Joe A. Carter, who read an emotional scripture passage, which lead to another passionate choir performance. Following him was an emotional selection from Rev. Donnie McClurkin, which evoked so much joy from the crowd.
Tyler Perry then followed with words about his time spent with Whitney in Atlanta.
Kevin Costner spoke warmly about his Bodyguard co-star, talking about their shared passion in the church and sharing some warm stories from the set of their famous movie together.
Alicia Keys gave a beautiful, tearful speech about Whitney’s love of mentoring young singers. She then played an emotional version of her own “Send Me An Angel.”
Clive Davis then went up to speak about his professional relationship with Whitney, detailing her amazing career through the years.
Whitney’s bodyguard and brother-in-law Ray Watson then spoke about the chilling moment Whitney died and he found her, as he had just been in the other room when it happened.
Stevie Wonder then performed a rousing rendition of his own “Love’s In Need Of Love Today,” which brought the whole congregation to their feet.
Whitney’s sister-in-law and manager Patricia Houston gave an emotional speech about Whitney’s triumphs and struggles, and it was a very honest look at the person behind the legendary talent.
R. Kelly performed next, delivering a very emotional version of Whitney’s classic song “I Look To You”.
After a brief reading from Whitney’s cousin Dionne Warwick, her close friend CeCe Winans sang an emotional gospel piece.
The funeral ended with Whitney’s casket being carried out to a recording of her singing “I Will Always Love You” — what an amazing choice.
The ceremony was followed by a burial at Fairview Cemetery, where she was laid to rest next to her father John Russell Houston, Jr.
We wish Whitney’s family the best during this difficult time.
– William Earl