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Worldwide superstar Whitney Houston is being laid to rest Saturday, Feb. 18 at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J, the childhood house of worship of Houston. Watch the live streaming funeral service here.
Celebrities slated to perform include Alicia Keys, R. Kelly and Stevie Wonder. Aretha Franklin was going to perform, but she has pulled out of the service, citing illness. Whitney’s “Bodyguard” co-star Kevin Costner and filmmaker Tyler Perry will also speak during the service.
Reverend DeForest Soaries, head of the First Baptist Church in Summerset, N.J., says the service will be a traditional Baptist worship service, not a concert.
“Reverend Carter … wanted to make sure the service, which he officiates, function as a worship experience and not as a performance,” says Soaries live on CNN. “There’s a difference between performing and ministering. That’s what we’ll see today at the funeral. With the music, with the flow of the service, with the interaction between the audience and the speakers. Our tradition, we continue to have call and response. People will affirm what has been said by saying something in response.”
The family has asked in lieu of presents that people donate to the Whitney E. Houston Academy of Creative and Performing Arts in East Orange, N.J.