Some 1500 mourners attended an emotional, four hour (yes, that’s four hours long) funeral for Whitney Houston on Saturday, footage of which was streamed online, and syndicated by various news channels around the world. The service took place at the church in Newark where the late singer first sang in public, a week after her premature demise in an LA hotel.
Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey, Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson, Roberta Flack and Chaka Khan were among the mourners at the service, which was presided over by Houston’s cousin Dionne Warwick. R Kelly, Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder all sang, while Kevin Costner and record industry veteran Clive Davies were among those to deliver eulogies. A planned performance from Aretha Franklin did not go ahead, however, because the soul legend, and Houston’s godmother, was unable to attend due to ill health.
Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown was not officially part of the proceedings, and indeed didn’t even stick around to watch them. Despite reports he had been asked to stay away from the funeral, Brown did arrive, but left before the service began in a dispute over seating arrangements. It’s thought there were disagreements about the seating of Brown’s nine-man entourage, and the singer’s demands to sit near his and Whitney’s daughter Bobbi Kristina.
Yesterday, at a much more modest gathering, the singer was buried at the Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey, alongside her father John. As previously reported, Houston was found dead in a bath tub in an LA hotel room ahead of last weekend’s Grammy Awards. The exact cause of her death is currently unknown, pending the result of toxicology tests.