Whitney Houston's funeral is scheduled for Saturday at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J. Bobby Brown has officially been invited to attend the private, invitation-only service. (PHOTO: REUTERS / Eduardo Munoz).
Exactly one week after her tragic and sudden death, singer Whitney Houston will be remembered at a private funeral in her hometown of Newark, N.J.
The private, invitation-only service is expecting some 1,500 guests, including the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder and Elton John.
Following the funeral at the New Hope Baptist Church, Houston will be laid to rest at the Fair View Cemetery in Westfield, N.J., near the burial site of her father, John Russell Houston Jr., who died in 2003.
Flags at municipal buildings will be lowered to half-staff in honor of Houston, Mayor Cory Booker confirmed.
Our city is mourning the loss of one of its native daughters and one of music's shining stars . . . Whitney Houston inspired so many people, and although she went from a Newark church to the global stage, she always remained a deep part of our city's pride and collective heart, Booker said in a statement.
Whitney Houston was found dead inside her Beverly Hilton Hotel room on Feb. 11, hours before she was to attend Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy party. She was 48.
The Los Angeles Coroner's office confirmed that it could take weeks to determine Houston's official cause of death. According to NBC, police have since questioned the singer's doctors and have obtained official medical records. The report also indicates that Houston paid two visits to the doctor's office the week prior to her death.
Here are five things to know about Whitney Houston's funeral, scheduled to commence at 12 p.m. EST on Saturday:
The Guests Among the 1,500 guests expected to attend Houston's funeral service are some very famous faces, including Houston's cousin, Dionne Warwick, Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé Knowles and husband Jay-Z, Elton John, Bill Cosby, David Bowie, Kevin Costner, Brandy and brother Ray J.
It's going to be a ceremony that reflects her life, Pastor Joe A. Carter told NJ.com on Thursday. Carter is the pastor of New Hope Baptist.
Director Tyler Perry, who lent his private jet to the Houston family to fly the singer's body from LA to New Jersey, is also expected to attend.
Bobby Brown After days of speculation, Bobby Brown has officially been invited to attend Houston's funeral. According to TMZ, Houston's family contacted Brown at the last minute.
The family felt that it would keep the peace at the funeral [to have Bobby there] . . . even though some family members were against it, a source told TMZ.
Brown, who is currently on a reunion tour with New Edition, is scheduled to perform in Greensboro, N.C., Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut (hours after Houston's funeral), and Sunday in Newark.
On Thursday night, Brown took a moment during New Edition's concert in Maryland to pay tribute to his ex-wife.
I'd like to say thank you for your prayers. I'm going to throw two up for Whitney, he said to the crowd, holding up two fingers. NBC aired a video of Brown's tribute Friday morning.
A young boy stands next to a makeshift memorial outside The New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, for the late singer Whitney Houston February 16, 2012. The funeral for Houston, who died this week in Los Angeles, California, will be a private ceremony at New Hope Baptist Church on February 18. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Mike Segar).
The Live Broadcast While the funeral will be a private affair for the Houston family and close friends, fans of the late singer can tune into the service thanks to broadcasts available for TV and Web.
The Associated Press is expected to have one camera inside New Hope, which will be streamed at Livestream and made available to major networks, Houston's publicist, Kristen Foster, announced Thursday.
Security In the last few days, fans have been urged to stay at home to tune into the funeral service on Saturday.
There will be a restricted zone for the funeral, made of up a six square-block area around New Hope Baptist. The area will be completely closed off to the public.
According to Newark police director Samuel DeMaio, there will be no procession for Houston's body from the funeral home to the church, which extends just over one mile. There are also no plans to set up video screens for fans.
I would advise the public that there really is going to be nothing to see here at the church. The best thing to do would be to stay home and watch the service on television, DeMaio said.
Aretha, Alicia and Stevie Houston's life will be celebrated on Saturday with a performance from Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and Houston's godmother, Aretha Franklin.
We were all aware of her challenges . . . and I was always rooting for her, Franklin, 69, recently told People.
Kevin Costner, Tyler Perry, Clive Davis and Dionne Warwick are all scheduled to speak at the service. Pastor Marvin L. Winans will deliver the eulogy.
We loved her when she was Nippy in New Jersey . . . the world loved her because of her voice. But if Nippy could not sing, the Houston family would love her, and I knew that Mama Houston would do it the way she wanted it done, Winans told NJ.com.