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18 feb. 2012


Earlier this week,

Whitney Houston’s family

revealed that they would not be planning a public funeral for the icon. Instead, they coordinated an intimate, invitation-only homecoming ceremony to take place this Saturday—a week after Houston’s unexpected death at the age of 48—in Newark, New Jersey. Now, it turns out, the family has had a change of heart and will allow cameras to stream the event on television and the Internet so that devoted fans worldwide can eulogize the legend.

The service will begin at noon at the New Hope Baptist Church, the church where Houston sang as a child. Marvel L. Winans, a gospel singer and longtime friend of the family who officiated at Houston’s 1992 marriage to Bobby Brown, will give the eulogy. Winans appeared on Anderson Cooper 360 last night to explain that the family didn’t plan a public event because they “didn’t want to have a parade.” He added, “We loved her when she was Nippy [her childhood nickname] in New Jersey. The world loves her because of her voice. But if Nippy could not sing, the Houston family would love her.”

Houston’s godmother, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder have been asked to perform at the service. People reports that her Bodyguard co-star, Kevin Costner, and long-time record producer, Clive Davis, will speak at the funeral. Houston’s cousin Dionne Warwick is helping the family with arrangements for the event. Chaka Khan, Diane Warren, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Darlene Love, and Ray J (the rapper whom Houston had been dating before she died) are confirmed to attend. Forbes reports that Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown, will also fly in for the ceremony with his nephew Kelsey, “whom Whitney raised like a son,” according to a friend of Brown’s. It is expected that Houston will be buried in the Fair View Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey, near her father, John Russell Houston Jr., who was laid to rest in 2003.

It is not yet known which outlets will be streaming the invitation-only event this Saturday.

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