Watch Tyler Perry, Stevie Wonder, Kevin Costner, The Winans Family, More Speak At Whitney Houston's Funeral
The funeral for recently departed singer Whitney Houston began at noon Eastern time, streaming online by The Associated Press and also televised by various outlets. We're posting updates on Twitter and will update this post periodically.
Tyler Perry, Bebe and Cece Winans, Stevie Wonder, R. Kelly, Clive Davis, Kevin Costner, Stevie Wonder, Rickey Minor, Dionne Warwick and others are slated to pay respects or sing. Bobby Brown, Oprah Winfrey, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Forest Whitaker and Spike Lee are also attending.
12:30 p.m.: Rev. Joe A. Carter: "Whitney, you are the only one that could bring all of us together. Whitney, today is your day. We celebrate. Today is your day. No, I want to just say that we came here to celebrate and this is how we celebrate. We have church."
12:52 p.m.: Rev. Donnie McClurkin sang "Stand" to a full house. Tyler Perry gave his remembrance of Houston: "There are two things I remember about Whitney Houston. One was that there was a grace that kept on carrying her all the way through... the other thing was that she loved the Lord."
1 p.m.: Bebe Winans introduced "I Really Miss You" by speaking on writing the song for his departed brother; he said he now associates the song with Houston, whom he said has become family.
1:30 p.m. Rev. Kim Burrell: "I'm thankful today because she was not selfish." She sang a version of "A Change is Gonna Come," with lyrics personalized for Houston: "No more tears, no more rehearsals, no more crying -- a change has come." Kevin Costner, Houston's co-star in The Bodyguard then spoke on growing up in the Baptist church, like Houston, and persuading the studio to cast her despite their reservations. Costner:
"The Whitney I knew, despite her fame and success, wondered 'Am I good enough?' You weren't just good enough. You were great.
... And all those young girls who are dreeaming that dream, maybe thinking they aren't good enough, I think Whitney would tell you: guard your bodies and guard the precious miracle of your own life, and then sing your hearts out, knowing that there's a lady in heaven that is making God himself wonder how he created something so perfect.
1:45: Alicia Keys, before singing "Prelude to a Kiss" (a performance reportedly a stand-in for Aretha Franklin, who could not attend due to health issues), said of Houston: "It was so obvious, the way [Houston] just crept into everyone's heart.... It's so rare, I feel. She reached out to so many people." Clive Davis, a mentor to Houston throughout her career, then spoke on her professional accomplishments:
"She was no longer shy. She was no longer introverted. The Lord and religion was her life's guiding force, and music was her passion. Whitney lived music. Whitney loved music. This was her world, and that's why I'm talking about the profesional Whitney today. Without knowing about her love of music, and her natural genius in interpreting songs, you don't know all of Whitney Houston. Personally, all I can say is that I loved her very much. Whitney was, purely and simply, one of a kind."
2:15: Stevie Wonder jokes that he had "a little crush" on Houston, then sang a version of his "Ribbons in the Sky," which he'd said was among Houston's favorite songs of his, again personalized for her.
2:40: Patricia Houston, sister-in-law and manager for Houston, thanked L.A. Reid, Cissy Houston, and other friends, family and colleagues of Houston's, closing: "The legacy that she left was music, but what she left for you was her love of God." R. Kelly sings "I Look to You," which he wrote for Houston, closing it with "We love you, Whitney."
3:00: CeCe Winans sang "Don't Cry to Me," then "Yes, Jesus Loves Me," Houston's last song. Then, Rickey Minor recalled breaking into the music industry with Houston: "The girl could sing. Not a voice, *the* voice." He continued: "I am here because you were there.'
3:10: Rev. Marvin Winans, after recognizing the other attending members of the Winans family, delivered Houston's eulogy with them.