Stars, fans mourn Houston at hometown service

Guests crowd in for funeral at singer's hometown church in New Jersey as Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder sing at service.

By REUTERS
February 19, 2012 03:24
2 minute read.
Fans wait for the hearse carrying Whitney Houston

Fans wait for the hearse carrying Whitney Houston. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

NEWARK, N.J. - Stars, family and friends mourned Whitney Houston in a spirited funeral service at her hometown church on Saturday, a week after the sudden death of the singer whose spectacular voice made her one of the biggest pop stars of her era.

A choir had guests swaying to gospel music in the crowded New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where Houston first honed her wide vocal range as a young choir singer with her mother Cissy Houston, a backup singer for Aretha Franklin.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


"Whitney returns home today to the place where it all began," said actor Kevin Costner, who starred opposite Houston in the 1992 hit film, "The Bodyguard." He urged those around the world to "dry our tears, suspend our sorrow - and perhaps our anger - just long enough, just long enough to remember the sweet miracle of Whitney."

Houston, who died in a Beverly Hills hotel room last week, recorded stirring love songs and vibrant dance tunes during a 30-year career that peaked with her 1992 signature hit "I Will Always Love You" and paved the way for a generation of singers that followed her.

During the service her cousin and famed soul singer Dionne Warwick introduced a host of soul, gospel and pop music greats from the past and present, including Alicia Keys who said "it was so obvious the way she just crept into everybody's heart" before performing the song "Prelude to a Kiss."

Influential Hollywood actor and producer Tyler Perry talked about Houston's "grace that led her all the way to the top of the charts," before adding that now, "she is resting, singing with the angels."

Gospel singers who performed at the service included singer Kim Burrell and Donnie McClurkin who sang a powerful rendition of "Stand" while the choir and church stood and swayed.



Houston was among the greatest singers of the 1980s and 1990s, but her personal life and marriage to singer Bobby Brown was tumultuous. She admitted to heavy use of cocaine, marijuana, alcohol and prescription pills.

Her death at age 48 shocked her family, fans and the music industry. Houston was found underwater in a hotel bathtub on the eve of the music industry's Grammy Awards. A cause of death has yet to be determined.

Record producer Clive Davis, who discovered and guided Houston throughout her career spoke at the service, which Oprah Winfrey and Mariah Carey also attended.

Houston's family decided against a public memorial, as was done for pop star Michael Jackson after his 2009 death, but they agreed to allow the service to be broadcast live by television networks and on the Internet.

Many of Houston's fans in the past several days have left flowers, cards and balloons dedicated to the singer who became a global star with her 1985 debut album that included the hits "Saving All My Love For You," "How Will I Know" and "Greatest Love Of All."

Related Content

Anti-government protesters demonstrate on a street in central Ankara
June 16, 2013
Thousands take to streets of Istanbul, defy Erdogan

By REUTERS