Whitney Houston’s funeral will be an invitation-only event this Saturday at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where she grew up singing with her mother, Cissy Houston, and her cousin, Dionne Warwick, TMZ reports.
It’s a good bet that Atlanta entertainment mogul Tyler Perry will make the cut; he arranged for Houston’s remains to be transported east via private plane.
There had been talk of some sort of public memorial at an 18,000-seat arena but that’s now scotched, according to a statement from the Newark mayor’s office: “In compliance with the family’s wishes the city is not moving forward with any public ceremony.”
The church posted a statement lamenting Houston’s death and requesting privacy on behalf of her family.
“We are saddened and our hearts are heavy at the news that Whitney Houston has passed away,” the church’s pastor, Joe A. Carter, said in the statement posted on the church’s web site. “Whitney called Newark home and we know that everyone, both near and far, are mourning the loss of this national treasure.”
TMZ, which has been posting updates in rapid-fire succession (including, helpfully, photos of the bathtub where Houston’s body was discovered and items she had ordered from room service earlier in the day), also quotes “family sources” indicating there had been an internal dispute regarding where the 48-year-old singer would be buried.
Cissy Houston and Warwick had selected Atlanta as Whitney Houston’s final resting place, feeling that she spent the happiest years of her life here. But the majority of the family preferred Houston’s native New Jersey, and apparently prevailed.
We will continue to post updates.
- Jennifer Brett/The Buzzfirstname.lastname@example.org