Saturday’s funeral for legendary pop singer Whitney Houston is expected to be made available for television and web streaming from the New Jersey church where she grew up, Houston’s publicist said Wednesday.
The services, to be held at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, will be in a much smaller, more intimate setting than the concert halls and arenas Houston packed during her heyday.
In every sense, she will be going home.
Publicists and entertainers by Wednesday had confirmed nearly a dozen celebrities and personalities will be in some of the 1,500 coveted, “invitation-only” seats
Gospel singer and pastor Marvin L. Winans, a longtime friend of the Houston family, will give the eulogy at New Hope Baptist Church. Winans officiated at Houston’s 1992 marriage to R&B singer Bobby Brown.
Asked why no public memorial service was planned, Winans told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night the family didn’t “want to have a parade.”
“I don’t think knowing Cissy (Houston’s mother) and the Houston family … it was a matter of public or private as it was this is my daughter, this is my sister, this is my mother, this is my friend and we want to do this with dignity.”
The family’s thinking, Winans told “AC360,” is “we loved her when she was Nippy (a nickname) in New Jersey. The world loves her because of her voice. But if Nippy could not sing, the Houston family would love her.”
Although the family is not commenting on Houston’s burial location, her death certificate filed Wednesday in Los Angeles lists it as Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey.
A message left by CNN with the cemetery office was not immediately returned.
Aretha Franklin, Houston’s godmother, has been asked to sing at the funeral, which begins at noon, Franklin’s spokeswoman said.
Others confirmed on the guest list are Chaka Khan, Bebe & CeCe Winans, songwriter Diane Warren, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, pop singer Darlene Love, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Ray J and Brandy. Houston’s cousin, singer Dionne Warwick, was in New Jersey helping the family with funeral arrangements, Warwick’s publicist said
Chaka Khan was a close friend of Houston. Reid produced many of Houston’s songs and Jakes co-produced Houston’s last film, “Sparkle,” which is scheduled to be released this summer. Houston and Jakes are listed as producers.
Ray J, a hip-hop artist, and Houston dated off and on after she was divorced from Brown.
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