Whitney Houston's funeral on Saturday will be an exclusive, private service for family and close friends only.
A funeral service for the fallen pop star will take place at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J. -- Houston's birthplace and hometown. There had been some discussion of a public service in Newark on Friday, but plans have since been abandoned.
No one without an invitation will be permitted anywhere near the church service, though Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio expects fans will congregate in the surrounding area.
I would urge people not to come to the church, DeMaio told the Newark Star-Ledger. There's really going to be nothing to see.
I think anybody who does have any love or any care for Whitney Houston should respect the wishes of the family and allow them to grieve without interruption, the Police Director urged. They are requesting a private service and people should respect the wishes of the family.
Rev. Jesse Jackson, R&B legend Aretha Franklin, songwriter Diane Warren, Ray J. and Brandy, and Chaka Kahn are among the high-profile figures expected to attend Houston's funeral.
There has been much speculation about whether her ex-husband Bobby Brown will attend. TMZ had reported that longstanding tension between Brown and Houston's relatives had caused the late singer's family to restrict him access to Bobbi Kristina, his daughter with Whitney, after Brown cancelled concert dates of his New Edition tour in order to be at the distraught teenager's side.
But a rep for Bobby Brown urged interested parties to ignore those claims. Any report or statement that does not originate from my office about Bobby Brown or his representatives, is not authorized by Bobby Brown. We are not focused on reports, stories or false reports for that matter, the rep said in a statement quoted by ABC News.
An unidentified Houston family member confirmed to ABC News that some of Houston's relatives wished for Brown to stay away from the funeral, but said they could not prevent him from attending because of his Bobbi Kristina, who has a close relationship with her father and would presumably want him to be there.
Earlier Thursday, Roger Friedman of Forbes wrote that he could say with certainty that Bobby Brown will attend Whitney's funeral, as will his 27-year-old nephew Kelsey. Whitney raised Kelsey like a son, Bobby's best friend reportedly told Friedman.
Friedman added that Whitney's mother Cissy Houston is in tight control of the funeral guest list, and knows the close relationship between father and daughter.
While Bobby Brown may be able to make it onto the guest list, many of Whitney's devoted fans will have no chance -- and they are none too happy about it.
Even though they brought her back (to New Jersey), they might as well left her in California, said Quovella Wilson, a minister at Christian Love Baptist Church in nearby Irvington, N.J., told the Star-Ledger. She was one of us, and now we're not going to get a chance to get near this.
They're pushing us out, said Earl Best, a Newark activist known as the Street Doctor. They're making it so regular people won't be able to get close. That ain't right. We were her people.
Marvin L. Winans, a longtime family friend, will give the eulogy at New Hope Baptist Church. He spoke to CNN's Anderson Cooper Wednesday night about the decision to keep the funeral service private, explaining that her 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.
Houston's funeral will be broadcast on television and via the web. EW.com will live blog the event.