Songs and Prayers: Watch Whitney Houston’s Funeral
Mourners at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark included Stevie Wonder, Oprah, Tyler Perry, Alicia Keys, and more
Pop icon Whitney Houston, who died unexpectedly the night before the Grammy Awards, was laid to rest in Westfield, New Jersey, this weekend. Hundreds of invite-only guests — including Dionne Warwick (Houston’s cousin, who hosted the service), Clive Davis, Kevin Costner, Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Mariah Carey, and Mary J. Blige, according to E! — gathered at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark to pay their respects to her family. The lengthy service emphasized the troubled singer’s unflagging devotion to God, her sense of humor, and of course, the unique talent that earned her the nickname the Voice.
Marvin Winans, the pastor who officiated at Whitney and Bobby Brown’s wedding in 1992, gave the eulogy, but many others shared memories at the service, including filmmaker Tyler Perry, Houston’s The Bodyguard costar Kevin Costner, and those who knew her best.
Part I of Pastor Marvin Winans’ Eulogy for Whitney Houston:
Kevin Costner’s Speech:
Tyler Perry’s Speech:
Although Aretha Franklin was slated to sing, she was incapacitated by "leg spasms" following her show at Radio City Music Hall the night before, according to a statement the singer made to the AP. (She was, however, able to perform again at Radio City that night, where she dedicated the performance to Whitney.) In her stead, Alicia Keys performed a raw rendition of her 2010 song "Send Me an Angel." Stevie Wonder (adorably) sent the singer off by admitting to a crush on her, and by performing a newly rewritten-for-Whitney version of his "Ribbon in the Sky," one that included a gentle backhand toward the media, who swarmed the church and surrounding areas. R. Kelly also paid tribute, with a gusto’ed, operatic performance of "I Look To You," and gospel singers Bebe and Cece Winans sang a handful of songs, including "Yes, Jesus Loves Me," the last song Houston performed before her death last Saturday night.
Alicia Keys Performs "Send Me an Angel":
Stevie Wonder Performs a Specially Rewritten "Ribbon in the Sky":
R. Kelly Performs "I Look To You,":
Bebe Winans Performs "I Miss You,":
Cece Winans Performs "Yes, Jesus Loves Me":
If the past week’s tumultuousness was any indication, it should come as no surprise that the service had its kinks, too; Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown left the service early after his family was asked to move their seats multiple times, and after being barred from seeing his daughter, Bobbi Kristina. Per Billboard’s report, the Reverend Al Sharpton tweeted that he tried to convince the New Edition member to return to the service, but could not. Gossip websites including Perez Hilton, have been alleging that Bobbi Kristina was found using drugs after the service, though the family has denied these reports.
Houston was buried beside her father, John Houston. Hear the legacy she left behind, in the form of 15 tracks that include the singer’s classics, her deep cuts, and songs that would not have been possible without her lasting influence.