Whitney Houston will always be remembered. The last few days of Whitney’s life was rough, filled with drug abuse and controversial decisions. Everyone makes mistakes. Houston’s legacy is much bigger than a few years of turmoil. Her funeral proved that life after death brings your family closer.
According to the Miami Herald, “The first notes of “I Will Always Love You,” at the end of a 3 1/2-hour remembrance of the pop superstar, played as her casket left the hometown church where she first wowed a congregation.
Her mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, walked right behind her, sobbing, “My baby.”
Houston’s voice – “you wait for a voice like that for a lifetime,” mentor Clive Davis said – moved her daughter, mourners like Oprah Winfrey and a packed church to tears after the biggest names in gospel and pop music sang about God, love, lost angels and moving on.
Stevie Wonder rewrote lyrics to “Ribbon in the Sky” for Houston – “you will always be a ribbon in the sky,” he sang. So did gospel’s the Rev. Kim Burrell for “A Change is Gonna Come,” which cousin Dionne Warwick said was Houston’s favorite song of all time. R. Kelly brought the New Hope Baptist Church to its feet with a stirring version of “I Look to You,” the title of Houston’s final studio album.
Wonder and Alicia Keys may have been the most famous singers offering tributes, in a congregation of mourners that included Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey, Kevin Costner and Chaka Khan. But the church choir and performances from the Winans family, the gospel star Rev. Donnie McClurkin and Burrell were equally powerful.
Houston’s 18-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina, sobbed and embraced Houston’s close friend, singer Ray J at length, as her mother’s voice began to drift through the church. His sister, singer Brandy, put her arm around him throughout the service.
Credits: AP News, Miami Herald