Celebrity

Category: Whitney Houston

Tyler Perry on Whitney: 'Say whatever you want, God was for her'

Click here to see more photos.
Tyler Perry spoke stirring words Saturday at the memorial service, the "home going" for Whitney Houston on Saturday in Newark, N.J., sharing the two things he said he knew about the singer who died a week ago at age 48: That she was carried by grace, and that she loved the Lord.

"There are two constants that I know about Whitney Houston," filmmaker Perry said to the congregation assembled at the New Hope Baptist Church. "There was a grace that carried, a grace that carried her down from heaven through Miss Cissy Houston, a grace that brought her up through singing.

"This same grace led her all the way to the top of the charts, sold all of these albums and just done some amazing things, won all these awards. She sang for presidents. And there was a grace that kept on carrying her, and that's one thing I know.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston's funeral

"The other thing I know, for sure," he added, "and this is more important than anything she's ever done in her life,  Whitney Houston loved the Lord."

Continuing with a rapid, engaging voice, he described how in every conversation they'd had, he was aware of her faith. He then invoked the words of the apostle Paul to the Romans, saying, "I am persuaded that nothing shall separate me from the love of God.... If you look at what Paul said he was describing her life so perfectly....

"No matter how high she went in the stratosphere, nothing separated her ... 'neither height nor depth,' no matter how much struggle, no matter how much she had to go through, no matter what she had to walk through ..." he said, it wasn't enough to separate her from the love of God.

Paul said something else too, Perry noted: "'If God be for you, who can be against you?' So say whatever you want, God was for her, and she is resting, singing with the angels."

RELATED:

Whitney Houston memorial: Who's performing, speaking?

Whitney Houston: Radio, flag controversies precede funeral

Whitney Houston: Family members attend private viewing Friday night

— Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

Photo: Tyler Perry at the premiere of his movie "Good Deeds" in L.A. on Feb. 14. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images


Whitney Houston funeral: Who's performing and speaking?

Click here to see more photos.

This post has been updated, as detailed below.

Whitney Houston's funeral Saturday -- more properly a Baptist "home going" service -- will start at 9 a.m. PST at the singer's childhood church, New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J.

Here's who will be speaking and performing during the service, which is expected to run for up to three hours, according to CNN, TMZ and others.

The New Hope Mass Choir and New Jersey Mass Choir will start things off singing "The Lord Is My Shepherd," followed by a reading of scripture by the Rev. Joe Carter, then the Rev. Donnie McClurkin singing "Stand."

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston's funeral

Director and actor Tyler Perry, who reportedly provided his private jet to transport Houston's body back East after the autopsy following her death Saturday in Beverly Hills, will have remarks, followed by CeCe Winans singing "Stand" and then comments by the Rev. T.D. Jakes.

The Rev. Kim Burrell, prominent in the gospel community, will sing "I Believe in You and Me," followed by remarks from actor Kevin Costner, who co-starred with Houston in "The Bodyguard," which featured her famous song "I Will Always Love You."

[Updated, at 9:24 a.m. Feb. 18: Some changes were publicized as the service got going. Among the song selection changes were BeBe Winans singing "I Really Miss You," the Rev. Kim Burrell singing "A Change Is Gonna Come," Stevie Wonder singing "Love's in Need of Love Today" and CeCe Winans singing "Don't Cry for Me."]

Aretha Franklin, Houston's godmother, was then to have sung "The Greatest Love of All," but her rep said Saturday morning that she was ill and would not perform. She's scheduled to sing at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday night, CBS said.

FULL COVERAGE: Whitney Houston's death

Clive Davis, Houston's longtime music mentor, will speak, followed by bodyguard Ray Watson, and then "A Ribbon in the Sky" will be performed by Stevie Wonder.

Before a medley by Alicia Keys, band leader Rickey Minor will speak, and R. Kelly will follow Keys' medley with "I Look to You."

Patricia Houston and Dionne Warwick will then speak on behalf of the family, followed by CeCe Winans singing and the Rev. Marvin Winans performing the eulogy. 

The funeral will stream live online and will be broadcast on various TV networks.

RELATED:

Whitney Houston: Radio, flag controversies precede funeral

Whitney Houston's funeral: Friends, family, stars will honor singer

Whitney Houston: Family members attend private viewing Friday night

— Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

Photo: Two women pause near a memorial display before funeral services for singer Whitney Houston at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., on Saturday. Credit: Mel Evans / Associated Press


Whitney Houston: Family members attend private viewing service

Arrivals at Whitney Houston's private viewing

Whitney Houston's family gathered Friday evening in Newark, N.J., for a private viewing of the body of the singer, who died Saturday at the Beverly Hilton.

Mother Cissy Houston, daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown and Dionne Warwick were among those spotted arriving at the Whigham Funeral Home, according to TMZ, which also reported music mentor Clive Davis stopping by briefly and then leaving before the 5 p.m. EST viewing service was to begin. The service reportedly ran about two hours.

Back at Los Angeles International Airport earlier in the day, the likes of Kevin Costner, Ray J and Brandy were photographed on their way to flights headed back East. Costner, Houston's costar in "The Bodyguard," is expected to speak at the funeral, which starts at noon EDT Saturday at Newark's New Hope Baptist Church.

FULL COVERAGE: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

Bobby Brown, Houston's ex-husband and Bobbi Kristina's father, was officially invited to attend, Houston's publicist confirmed to the Associated Press, despite earlier rumors that he was being shunned by the family. Brown has a concert with New Edition scheduled for Saturday night in Connecticut.

Also on tap for the funeral are musical performances from Houston's godmother Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, R. Kelly and gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reported. Additional invited guests whosed names are popping up in assorted media reports include Elton John, Bill Cosby, David Bowie, Beyonce and Jay-Z, Diddy, Berry Gordy, Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey and Denzel Washington.

Flags on state government buildings in New Jersey will fly at half-staff Saturday in honor of the singer, who was born in Newark and grew up in nearby East Orange.

RELATED:

Whitney Houston: Radio, flag controversies precede funeral

Nancy Grace defends her Whitney Houston death speculation [Poll]

Bobbi Kristina offered coping advice by Janet Jackson, Anderson Cooper [Video]

— Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

Photo: Whitney Houston's family members are helped as they arrive at Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, N.J., on Friday for a private viewing service. Credit: Mel Evans / Associated Press.

 

 

 

 


Nancy Grace defends her Whitney Houston death speculation [Poll]

Nancy Grace and Whitney Houston

Nancy Grace didn't apologize Thursday for her speculation earlier in the week regarding what Whitney Houston's autopsy might show -- rather, speaking on "Good Morning America," the HLN personality and "Dancing With the Stars" alum vigorously defended herself and her words.

"I'd like to know who was around her," Grace had said Monday on CNN, "who if anyone gave her drugs following alcohol and drugs, and who let her slip or pushed her underneath that water. Apparently no signs of force or trauma to the body; who let Whitney go under her water?"

Thusly -- after invoking the deaths of Michael Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith -- did she stir up a hornet's nest, as folks wondered how in the world she'd opted to stretch toward the notion that Houston had possibly been murdered.

Grace saw it Thursday as a matter of semantics, saying that in "the real world," autopsies are about determining cause of death.

"I understand that some people would consider that jarring or harsh, but there is nothing delicate or nice about a murder, a death, an unexpected death, or an autopsy and that is what autopsies are for.

She dismissed the notion that wondering who "pushed her underneath that water" was speculation, noting that "in the same breath" she'd mentioned that there were no signs of force or trauma.

"You're arguing with me over semantics. ... It would have been true to say that they're looking for cause of death ... [but] what that means in the real world ... of an autopsy, of why her body was transported to the coroner's office, is to determine cause of death. ...

"It is not a homicide and I'm thankful for that," Grace said, "but I still want the truth."

Check out Nancy Grace on "GMA," below, and vote in the poll, then feel free to speculate in comments.

RELATED:

Whitney Houston: Radio, flag controversies precede funeral

Whitney Houston: Nancy Grace speculates wildly on singer's death

Bobbi Kristina offered coping advice by Janet Jackson, Anderson Cooper [Video]

— Christie D'Zurilla

Twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

Left photo: Nancy Grace. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press

Right photo: Whitney Houston. Credit: Tibrina Hobson / WireImage



Whitney Houston: Radio, flag controversies precede funeral

Whitney Houston: A man signs a condolence book outside the Whigham Funeral Home

With Whitney Houston's funeral looming Saturday in her home state, controversies surrounding her death bubbled up on both coasts, one involving New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the other involving Los Angeles talk-radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampiou, who were suspended Thursday after insensitive comments about the dead singer.

Christie found himself defending his Tuesday decision to have state government buildings' flags lowered to half-staff on the day of Houston's funeral.

"I am disturbed by people who believe that because her ultimate demise — and we don't know what is the cause of her death yet — but because of her history of substance abuse that somehow she's forfeited the good things that she did in her life," the governor said at a news briefing Thursday. "I just reject that on a human level."

On Twitter, he pointed out, "Flag being lowered for her cultural contributions as an artist & New Jerseyan. Her struggles w/substance abuse r a diff topic." He also noted that during his time in office flags had also been lowered for 31 fallen soldiers from the state as well as all fallen police officers.

Meanwhile, radio station KFI hosts Kobylt and Chiampou were suspended "for making insensitive and inappropriate comments about the late Whitney Houston," KFI said in a statement on its website. "KFI AM 640 Management does not condone, support or tolerate statements of this kind."

The DJs on Wednesday had called Houston a "crack ho" and referred to her as "cracked out for 20 years" — she'd publicly denied smoking crack — with Kobylt saying, "Then you find out she's dead and it's like, really, it took this long?'" Additional slams can be heard in audio from the show, posted by Urban Informer.

"We made a mistake, and we accept the station's decision," Kobylt said in the statement. '"We used language that was inappropriate, and we sincerely apologize to our listeners and to the family of Ms. Houston.'"

KFI host Tim Conway Jr. also was joking about Houston's death during his 7-10 p.m. show Wednesday. Jon and Ken were expected to be back on the air Monday, according to L.A. Now.

RELATED:

Bobbi Kristina offered coping advice by Janet Jackson [Video]

Whitney Houston's funeral will stream online and may be broadcast

Whitney Houston: Drugs, alcohol, drowning or natural causes ? Only time will tell

— Christie D'Zurilla

Twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

Photo: A man signs a condolence book for singer Whitney Houston outside the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, N.J., on Friday. Credit: Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images.


Whitney Houston's funeral will stream online and may be broadcast

Whitney Houston's childhood church is the site of a memorial to the singer

Whitney Houston's funeral may be invitation-only when it comes to getting a seat in the church, but the world has been invited to watch it online and perhaps on TV.

Though there will be no large public memorial like the one held for Michael Jackson, the Saturday funeral at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., Houston's childhood church, is expected to be made available for television and Web streaming, Houston's publicist told CNN Wednesday.

The "I Will Always Love You" singer's body arrived in New Jersey late Monday after her death Saturday at age 48 in Beverly Hills, and her autopsy Sunday. Houston's death certificate indicates she will be buried at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, N.J., where her father was interred.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

Reflecting Houston's gospel roots, the service will include a eulogy from gospel singer and Pastor Marvin L. Winans, and will have BeBe and CeCe Winans, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Chaka Khan, Diane Warren, cousin Dionne Warwick, Antonio "L.A." Reid, and Ray J and his sister Brandy in attendance, according to CNN.

(The church reportedly seats up to 2,000 people; for context, the Cathedral of our Lady of Angels in downtown L.A. seats around 3,000, and seating capacity at Westminster Abbey currently runs around 2,000.)

Whether ex-husband Bobby Brown, who some blame for Houston's slide into addiction, will attend the funeral is a matter of some debate. Fox News reported Thursday that he would be performing with New Edition in Connecticut on Saturday night. Brown flew to L.A. on Sunday and reportedly tried unsuccessfully to get in touch with daughter Bobbi Kristina, according to TMZ, but ABC News talked to sources close to Brown on Wednesday who said that reports of tension between Brown and the Houston family were inaccurate. 

FULL COVERAGE: Whitney Houston | 1963-2012

"My daughter Bobbi Kristina is doing much better," Brown said via email to ABCNews.com Tuesday. "We continue to provide love and support to Bobbi Kristina. She is dealing with the tragedy of her mother's death and would prefer to do it outside of the public eye. I ask again that our privacy be respected."

Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles as part of the coroner's death investigation, authorities were sending out subpoenas to gather information on what drugs Houston had been prescribed, by whom and in what quantities, according to L.A. Now.

Authorities collected several bottles of drugs from Houston's suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, but officials told L.A. Now that the amounts of drugs did not seem unusually large. Officials are waiting for the results of toxicology tests before determining an official cause of death, and have not ruled out death by natural causes.

RELATED:

Bobbi Kristina offered coping advice by Janet Jackson [Video]

Bobbi Kristina Brown, Whitney Houston's daughter, is hospitalized

Whitney Houston: Drugs, alcohol, drowning or ... ? Only time will tell

— Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

Photo: Amanda Kweku, left, and Latisha Watkins pray Thursday in front of a makeshift memorial for singer Whitney Houston at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J. Credit: Stan Honda / AFP/Getty Images


Bobbi Kristina offered coping advice by Janet Jackson [Video]

Bobbi Kristina Brown, right, with mom Whitney Houston

As Bobbi Kristina Brown survives the significant loss of her mother, Whitney Houston, she can count the support of millions of fans worldwide -- and a few showbiz types like Janet Jackson.

No stranger to tragedy herself, Jackson stopped by Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show Tuesday and offered thoughts for the grief-stricken Bobbi Kristina, whose recent ordeal saw her hospitalized, reportedly for stress.

"I didn't want to accept it. It's very difficult. You have to come to terms at some point; you have to give it up to God," Jackson said of losing her brother Michael.

"It sounds so mean but you have to move on. You can't hold on to that because it can be very devastating. And sometimes therapy can be the best thing."

Cooper, who lost a brother to suicide, weighed in on coping with loss over a lifetime. 

"TV people always use that word 'closure' when they're talking about loss. I don't think there is such a thing as closure. I think that's a made-up TV word," he said.

Jackson agreed, adding, "You figure out a way to move on with life but ... there's never a day, not one day has gone by where I don't think about my brother."  

 

RELATED:

Whitney Houston's death: Full coverage

Whitney Houston funeral: Invite-only, with no public memorial

Bobbi Kristina Brown, Whitney Houston's daughter, hospitalized

-- Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Photo: Whitney Houston, left, and daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown at last year's Clive Davis pre-Grammys party in Beverly Hills. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times


Whitney Houston funeral: Invite-only, with no public memorial

A Whitney Houston fan waits for the body to arrive in Newark

Whitney Houston's funeral will be held Saturday in New Jersey, but the singer will not be mourned at a large public memorial, it was revealed Tuesday. 

Houston's body arrived at the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark under heavy police escort on Monday, the Associated Press reported. About 40 fans who were gathered nearby to catch a glimpse of the hearse sang and applauded, the New Jersey Star-Ledger said, and mother Cissy Houston was photographed arriving by car at the same time.

Entry to the funeral service -- to be held at noon Saturday at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark -- will be by invitation only, the funeral home's owner, Carolyn Whigham, told the Star-Ledger, with no wake or public viewing at the Prudential Center, as had been previously reported.

Whitney Houston's body arrives at Whigham Funeral HomeIt was the family that put the kibosh on a public memorial, a rep for Newark Mayor Cory Booker told TMZ. "In compliance with the family’s wishes the city is not moving forward with any public ceremony," the rep said.

"The Bodyguard" star honed her singing skills in the gospel choir at New Hope as a child.

"The family has made it very clear there is going to be a strong musical celebration of her life," with star voices expected but as yet unnamed, Pastor Joe Carter told the New York Daily News.

Houston died Saturday afternoon in Beverly Hills, hours before she was to attend a pre-Grammy Awards function. Though she was found submerged in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton, the investigation into her death has turned to focus on what prescription drugs the singer had been taking, and how much. An official cause of death is on hold pending results of toxicology tests.

Authorities collected several bottles of drugs from the suite, law enforcement sources told L.A. Now, but the sources said the amounts of drugs left it unclear whether the medications had been a factor in the singer's death. Various media outlets have reported bottles of Xanax, Valium, Lorazepam and other medications were found.

"No matter what medication they may be taking, until we do a toxicology test and see the levels, we are not going to speculate," said Ed Winter, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner's office. The coroner had not ruled out death from natural causes.

RELATED:

Whitney Houston's death: Full coverage

Bobbi Kristina Brown, Whitney Houston's daughter, hospitalized

Whitney Houston: Drugs, alcohol, drowning or ... ? Only time will tell

— Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photos, from top: A fan awaits the arrival of Whitney Houston's body near the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, N.J., on Monday night; the hearse carrying Houston's body arrives at the funeral home. Credits: D Dipasupil / Getty Images; Rich Schulz / Associated Press



Grammy after-party sees music legends, levity from Bruno Mars

 

Bruno Mars celebrates another Grammy ceremony come and gone.

Whitney Houston was easily the biggest presence at any Grammy Awards party this past weekend, but awards need celebrating, and the industry chose to soldier on — perhaps in the name of support.

That was the case Sunday after the Grammy telecast as music legends and Hollywood heavyweights flocked to the Chateau Marmont for Beau Joie champagne's fete, celebrating Warner Bros. Music and InStyle magazine.

Twinkle lights, pink roses and white tents transformed the iconic space with old-school French flair to welcome Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Reba McEntire, India Arie, Fergie, Jared Leto and Lana Del Rey, to name a few.

PHOTOS: The Beau Joie Grammy party 

Bruno Mars performed a 15-minute set on the hotel patio as guests raised glasses of rosé, including a dancing Chelsea Handler enjoying the music with hotel owner Andres Balazs. 

"Welcome to the loser party," Mars joked after leaving the award show empty-handed, "but we're still going to have a great time."

Mash-ups and covers of hits including "Super Freak," LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It," and Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Paris" brought the place down, with a helpful reminder that music is about bringing people together — which is precisely what happened later in the hotel library.

When Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" started piping through, it sparked a dance party that had McCartney shaking it alongside a gorgeous Gabrielle Union, Serena Williams, Del Rey and execs including Ben Silverman. 

Malin Akerman, Kelly Rowland, "Glee" guys Matthew Morrison and Chord Overstreet, newlyweds Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, John Legend, Rashida Jones and Nicole Richie rounded out the crowd, lingering past midnight. 

The pain and shock of Houston's death inspired much chatter in between sips of bubbly, puffs on cigars and snacking, but a newcomer like Del Rey proves the show goes on.

"I'm having so much fun," she told us in passing, "I mean, my friend won two Grammys." And that's what Sunday was about. 

RELATED:

Whitney Houston's death: Full coverage

Grammys: Jean Baptiste is excited for friend Chris Brown

Grammys 2012: Adele wears her heart on her sleeve, songwriters say

— Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Photo: Bruno Mars celebrates another Grammy ceremony come and gone with InStyle magazine and Beau Joie on Sunday. Credit: Todd Williamson / Getty Images 



Whitney Houston: Drugs, alcohol, drowning or ...? Time will tell

Whitney Houston's autopsy report is discussed by coroner spokesman Ed Winter.

This post has been corrected, as indicated below.

How did Whitney Houston die? That won't be known officially for weeks, but the rumor mill was going full strength Monday with talk about whether prescriptions drugs and alcohol, drowning or even an adverse reaction caused by a mix of drugs was to blame for the singer's passing Saturday.

"The investigation is ongoing," Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said at a news conference Sunday, L.A. Now reported. "It's too early to tell."  There were no visible signs of trauma on the body, Winter said. Beverly Hills police confirmed Monday that Houston had been found underwater in a tub at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Unofficially, speculation ran the gamut Monday, with information leaks and Houston's behavior in the days leading up to her death examined under a media microscope.

OBITUARY: Troubled pop titan Whitney Houston dead at 48

Though some water was reportedly found in Houston's lungs during the autopsy conducted Sunday, a TMZ source said the family was told by coroner's officials that it was a mix of prescription drugs and alcohol that killed "The Bodyguard" actress, not drowning.

Bottles of prescription and over-the-counter medications were found on the scene, L.A. Now said -- reportedly including Xanax, Lorazepam, Valium, amoxicillin, ibuprofen, Midol, a sleep aid and more, according to various media sources -- but they yielded few pills, law enforcement sources told TMZ.

Grammy nominee Kelly Price said on CNN's "Starting Point" with Soledad O'Brien that the singer was "joyful," not behaving erratically, at a party celebrating Price's nods Thursday night.

"She did not seem disheveled," Price told the show via phone. "She was dancing. She was laughing. We all danced. We all laughed. We were singing. We were having a good time. There didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary with her. It actually made me very glad to see her that way, that she agreed to come out and then to see her and to see her looking so upbeat and so joyful and jovial."

PHOTOS: Stars react to Whitney Houston's death

A Los Angeles Times report of erratic behavior, however, referred to events Thursday afternoon. Houston, 48, was seen skipping around the ballroom, flailing her hands while talking to singers Brandy and Monica, and wandering aimlessly around the Beverly Hilton lobby. Security reportedly was advised that she was doing handstands by the pool.

A source told Fox News' Pop Tarts column that Houston, who had struggled with addiction, was seen drinking Champagne and cognac at a Ray J event the week prior to Grammys week, and Price admitted Houston was drinking bubbly on Thursday as well.

A security hold has been placed on Houston's autopsy results (the practice is common in high-profile cases). However, the body has been released to the family, People said; she is likely to be buried in New Jersey.

[For the record, 12:25 p.m. Feb. 13: This post originally said Houston was likely to be buried in Atlanta. Houston was born in Newark, N.J., and raised in Orange; though plans are not official, arrangements are reportedly being handled by a Newark funeral home, according to two people who spoke to the Associated Press.]

RELATED:

Whitney Houston's death: full coverage

Bobby Brown reportedly 'beside himself'

Whitney Houston rumors: How did she die?

Whitney Houston death: Bobby Brown heads for L.A.

Bobbi Kristina Brown, Whitney Houston's daughter, hospitalized

Whitney Houston death: Chaka Khan pulls out of Grammys tribute

— Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photo: L.A. County coroner's spokesman Ed Winter speaks at a press conference Sunday announcing the conclusion of an autopsy on Whitney Houston. The cause of death is pending toxicology tests, and Winter said Beverly Hills police asked for a security hold on other details of her death. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

 

 


Advertisement
Connect

Recommended on Facebook




In Case You Missed It...

Advertisement

Hot Property

Video



Recent Posts

Categories


Archives
 



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...