New Jersey Private Funeral for World Renowned Whitney Houston
She began singing gospel songs as a child in Newark, New Jersey at the New Hope Baptist Church. And that is where family has chosen Whitney Houston's final stop to be before she is buried. The funeral on Saturday is a private invitation-only affair where family and close friends may express sorrow and send home Whitney with expressions of faith and song, remembering the life she lived. A spokeswoman for the family did not dissuade interviewers from the idea that there may be a separate public memorial service at some point to allow her countless fans to mourn the tragic loss of this gifted and stunning pop singer who had run into personal troubles in the last decade of her life. But for now, celebrity friends, friends, singers and family will be ushered into New Hope Baptist Church and no one else, least of all media.
Whigham Funeral Home's director, Carolyn Whigham affirmed that the Houston family had been thankful for the prayers of fans and friends, but wanted to grieve away from cameras and prying eyes. No wake is being held, only the private service in the church which seats 1500. "It was the family's decision," said Whigham. "They have shared her for 30-some years with the city, with the state, with the world. This is their time now for their farewell to their daughter, mother."
Whigham's comment that there would be "nothing for the public," will not keep media outlets away from the environs of New Hope Baptist Church. Houston lived a celebrity's life with all the unfortunate attenuations and miseries of the famous. In life and in death, she "belonged" to the public who wanted and still want access to her. To expect the media to stop covering the next page of her life's journey would be naive. This is just the beginning of a cottage industry to follow with books, music re-releases, videos and anything else marketers can dream up including bio-pics, HBO specials and "the film" of Houston's life. That is why it probably would be wise to have a public memorial serviceContinued on the next page