Whitney Houston’s Final Resting Place [VIDEO]
Whitney Houston was laid to rest Sunday at a brief private ceremony in Westfield, the end of a weekend that saw the pop star’s family and friends gather at a star-studded funeral to mourn her loss while celebrating her career.
Fans and onlookers gathered in several places along the route the motorcade took from the Newark funeral home to the cemetery about 20 miles away in Westfield, where Whitney Houston was buried next to her father, who died in 2003.
Fans gathered again near the funeral home Sunday morning, and some even slowly ran alongside the hearse as it began the journey to Houston’s gravesite. Several yelled out “We love you, Whitney” as the hearse, which had a black and white headshot of the star in a window, slowly drove away.
The Star Ledger reports that residents were warned to expect a heavy police presence in the area and roads around the cemetery would be closed to ensure the family’s privacy. The cemetery will be closed for the duration of the burial ceremony.
- VIDEO: Watch the full funeral
- FUNERAL: Complete coverage of Whitney Houston’s “home going”
- INTERACTIVE: The life of Whitney Houston
- PROGRAM: The complete funeral program
- BBC: Townsquare Media’s Stacy Proebstle on BBC Radio’s 5 Live Weekend Breakfast (Stacy’s segment begins at the 17 minute mark)
Concern For Bobbi Kristina
Whitney Houston’s family continues to have concerns that 18 year old Bobbi Kristina may be headed down the same substance abuse path as her mother as she reportedly was found with drugs in her hotel room just hours after her mother’s funeral.
The Daily Beast reports the daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown “simply disappeared” during dinner at a restaurant after the funeral sending the family into a panic as calls to Bobbi’s cell phone went unanswered. Whitney’s mother Cissy was especially concerned as she feels Bobbi is all she has left of her daughter but, insiders say, she will not admit Bobbi has a drug problem.
Bobbi reportedly was upset over the drama surrounding her father at Whitney’s funeral. She had several emotional breakdowns in the days after her mother’s death. After this latest discovery several family members wanted to take Bobbi to rehab immediately but they decided to wait until after yesterday’s burial.
BOBBY BROWN PERFORMS AFTER LEAVING FUNERAL
Bobby Brown performed as scheduled last night as scheduled at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut hours after leaving Whitney Houston’s funeral.
He was on stage in as part of a reunion of his band New Edition. USA Today says Bobby took the stage 10 minutes after the rest of the band started as they performed newer songs that don’t include him. Brown then took the stage, hugged the band and took in the applause before addressing the audience. “I want to give blessings to my ex-wife, Whitney Houston, I love you. I want to give blessings to my kids, my fiancée (Alicia Etheridge), my brothers, and each of you.”
Later in the evening before the concert’s final song–a song called Home Again Brown said “I lost three great people in my life in the last year, but nothing makes me happier than to be here with you.”
Brown arrived at Whitney Houston’s funeral but suddenly left over a dispute over seating and the unexpected large number of people he brought with him.
Brown says in a statement, “My children and I were invited to the funeral of my ex-wife Whitney Houston,” Brown, 43, says. “We were seated by security and then subsequently asked to move on three separate occasions. I fail to understand why security treated my family this way and continue to ask us to move.”
The problem then escalated, he says, when security prevented him from seeing daughter Bobbie Kristina.
“In light of the events, I gave a kiss to the casket of my ex-wife and departed as I refused to create a scene,” he says. “My children are completely distraught over the events.”
During the week it was reported that Brown wanted to attend the funeral to support his daughter Bobbi Kristina who has been distraught over the death of her mother. Cissy Houston is said to have not wanted him to attend over concerns he only wants to get Whitney’s money and that the family blames him for her drug and substance abuse problems. However, an invitation was extended.
Aretha remembers Whitney at Radio City
Aretha Franklin was thankful to be alive and was thinking about lost friends, among them Whitney Houston.
Hours after she canceled an appearance at Houston’s funeral because of spasms in her legs, the “Queen of Soul” (the “undisputed” Queen, the capacity audience was reminded by the show’s announcer) was quick on her feet, feisty in voice and sentimental and sassy in spirit at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday night.
It was the latest stop on a “greatest hits” tour featuring old favorites and, since Houston’s shocking death a week ago, a tribute to the fallen singer. Franklin is close to Houston’s family, and she said Houston called her “Aunt Ree.”
COMING BACK FROM AN UNDISCLOSED ILLNESS
Franklin herself was rumored a year ago to be mortally ill, hospitalized with an undisclosed illness and asking her fans worldwide to pray for her health. On Saturday, the 69-year-old looked young enough to joke about a man who had mistaken her for being in her 50s. She danced and shimmied, kicked off her heels and paced the stage barefoot, and even smirked and gave herself a couple of satisfied pats on the rear.
She looked back over a 50-year career and those who helped her along. Franklin praised the late Luther Vandross as she kicked off the R&B hit he co-wrote for her, “Get It Right.” She introduced her most heartbreaking ballad, “Ain’t No Way,” with a brief word about her sister and the song’s composer, Carolyn Franklin, who died in 1988. She sang the title from the classic Motown anthem of devotion, “You’re All I Need To Get By,” and two giant flat screens on opposite sides of the stage flashed a picture of one of the writers, Nick Ashford, who died last summer.
Franklin then called out to Ashford’s widow and songwriting partner, Valerie Simpson, among several friends and family members in attendance.
Houston’s turn came during the second half of the roughly 100-minute concert, after Franklin had changed from a glittery green and silver caftan into a caftan of white and gold, and settled behind the piano and sketched out the words and melody to “I Will Always Love You.” Softening Houston’s all-time power ballad into a light, gospel reverie, Franklin paused to acknowledge the “homegoing” of “Nippy,” Houston’s nickname: More formally, “Miss Whitney Elizabeth Houston.”
“She was a very fine young lady” and “one of the best, greatest singers,” said Franklin, breaking back and forth between melody and spoken word, behind song and sermon. “She was giving, gave so much of herself. God bless you, Nippy,” she concluded. “We’ll always remember.”
But no one, Houston included, has displaced Franklin at the top.
No one would dare. Backed by a sprawl of percussionists, horns, keyboards, singers and dancers, she has absorbed and mastered so many styles, from pop and gospel to soul and jazz, that she can hold entire traditions within a single song. And she remains fearless about shaking up standards. Her breakthrough smash from 1967, “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” was changed from a smoldering ballad into a bluesy vamp.
Franklin worked in a few digs about womanizing into the otherwise despondent “Ain’t No Way” and stretched and scatted the words to “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
She had come to celebrate, to sell (Franklin urged the crowd, twice, to go to Walmart and buy her latest record) and to heal. “I hope that there’s something I will sing, or I have sung, that will lift all of our heavy hearts today,” she said near the beginning of the show.
The answer was obvious, especially after the closing numbers: an explosive “Spirit in the Dark,” with Franklin leading the charge on piano; and the essential finale, “Respect,” with a cameo from the Rev. Al Sharpton, who pulled off some James Brown strides, and even a few nimble steps from the Queen herself, whose heart and legs seemed to have lightened as she left the stage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.