A man poses for a photo in front of a make-shift memorial as fans pay their respects to Whitney Houston at New Hope Baptist Church, in Newark, [auth] N.J., Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. The 48-year-old pop star was found dead in the bathtub in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday, hours before she was supposed to appear at a pre-Grammy gala. Houston’s funeral will be held at the church on Saturday. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder will sing at the private funeral of Whitney Houston on Saturday in what promises to be a very musical service.
Publicist Kristen Foster also confirms that invitations went out to Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown; her co-star in “The Bodyguard,” Kevin Costner; and Oprah Winfrey.
Houston’s longtime musical mentor, Clive Davis, will speak at the funeral. The eulogy will be given by gospel singer and longtime family friend Marvin Winans.
Others who will be part of the program include Donnie McClurkin, Tyler Perry, Kim Burrell, Rickey Minor, Alicia Keys, Dionne Warwick and Cece Winans, Foster said.
The Queen of Soul was a close family friend and considered Houston her goddaughter; she said in an email Thursday that Houston used to call her “Aunt Ree.”
Organizers were getting the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark ready Thursday for the funeral. Drums and speakers, which were to be part of the musical service, were in the aisles.
Fans without invitations will be kept far away. Newark police say streets will be shut down for six square blocks around the church.
But on Thursday, there were several dozen fans outside, contributing to and taking pictures of the makeshift memorial to the superstar outside the church. Media were also outside of the venue.
Houston died Saturday in Beverly Hills, Calif., at the age of 48.