Whitney Houston will be laid to rest with a funeral service at the New Jersewy church where she sang in the choir as a child. The funeral, to be held at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, will be a private, invitation-only event, according to the funeral home working with Houston’s family. No wake is planned. The funeral comes exactly one week after Houston’s death in Beverly Hills, where she was to attend Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy gala.
In choosing to memorialize Houston at her birthplace — Newark, New Jersey — her family is placing a focus on her roots in the church and in gospel music. (Her mother, Cissy Houston, worked in gospel and sang back-up for soul stars like Otis Redding). And in opting to keep it private, the family is placing their own focus inward.
“They have shared her for 30 some years with the city, with the state, with the word. This is their time now for their farwell,” said Carolyn Whigham, owner of the Whigham Funeral Home. “The family thanks all the fans, the friends and the media, but this time is their private time.”
That said, the event is widely expected to be attended by many of music’s most prominent figures, and may feature remembrances along the lines of Jennifer Hudson’s tribute at the Grammy Awards.
Authorities have confirmed that Houston’s body was released to her family on Monday after an initial inquiry by the Los Angeles County Coroner.