Family, friends and celebrities packed into the Newark church where Whitney Houston grew up and remembered the late singer’s voice, love and — most of all — faith at her homegoing service Saturday.
The nearly four-hour service featured performances from Alicia Keys, R. Kelly, the Winans family, Stevie Wonder and others. Many of the performers adapted lyrics in tribute to Houston, including Kim Burrell and Stevie Wonder, who altered his version of one of Houston’s favorite songs, “Ribbon in the Sky.”
Houston died a week ago at age 48 in Los Angeles.
Many of the speakers spoke about Whitney Houston’s Baptist background and her strong faith in God, including an emotional Tyler Perry, who received a standing ovation.
“I am completely thankful to God for all he has done her life,” Perry said. “There is a grace that kept on carrying her. … Whitney Houston loved the Lord.”
Actor Kevin Costner also received a standing ovation after he spoke of Houston’s courage when she tried out for a starring role with him in the 1992 movie “The Bodyguard.”
Oprah Winfrey, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Spike Lee, Roberta Flack, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Houston’s former husband, Bobby Brown, were among those in attendance. Brown and his entourage later left the church during the service, but there are conflicting reports as to why he left.
Check out photos and video from the service: