Family, friends, and the community gathered Saturday to pay tribute to the late icon at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J.
Whitney Houston 1963-2012
The funeral services were held in Newark, N.J. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the New Hope Baptist Church where Whitney Houston grew up singing in the choir.
STORY: Whitney Houston's Funeral: Guests Arrive to Pay Their Respects to the Legend
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Private, but for the people.
Whitney Houston's family wanted the service to include guests who actually knew the star, but allowed crews to set up outside and cameras inside to shoot the service. They knew that the public would want to take part in the "Homegoing."
A stone's throw away
The golden procession
A gold hearse carrying Whitney Houston's body led a procession of limousines and a police escort up to New Hope Baptist Church on Saturday morning.
On the way to the "Homegoing"
Around 9:30 a.m., Whitney Houston's body was transported from the Whigham Funeral Home to the New Hope Church about a half-mile away.
Arriving at the New Hope Church
Whitney Houston’s silver casket was decorated with white roses and purple lilies. It was escorted into the church by three police officers while the choir sang.
Family came to celebrate
Among the close family who attended was Whitney Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown; their daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown; Dionne Warwick, Houston's cousin; and her mother, Cissy Houston.
The early mourners
More than two hours before the service started, fans carrying signs and pictures of Whitney Houston began to assemble outside the barricades.
A traditional "Homegoing"
Whitney Houston's mother, Cissy Houston, planned for a traditional "homegoing" ceremony, with members of the gospel community on tap to celebrate and honor the life of "Nippy" -- Houston's nickname.
A roster of celebrity guests
Guests arrived to the church as early as two hours before the service. They included r&b singer Ray J; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Star Jones; Forest Whitaker; Diane Sawyer; and Mary J. Blige.
Jesse Jackson arrives
Rev. Jesse Jackson was one of the first to arrive to the service. He had stopped by the funeral home earlier that morning to view Whitney Houston's body.
Guests greet each other in front of the church
Guests arrive for the services and greet each other in front of the church and a fan memorial.
All Whitney Houston Coverage on THR
Police barricades keep the crowds from the church
Fans leave notes of remembrance at the memorial
The crowds build as the service gets set to begin
CNN, BET, MSNBC, and E! among the news outlets at the service
Whitney Houston's ex-husband Bobby Brown caused some some controversy after leaving the funeral after a disagreement over seating.
Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton
Rev. Al Sharpton defended Whitney Houston's ex-husband Bobby Brown's departure saying, "He showed nothing but love and respect. ... I wish people would leave Bobby alone."
After Whitney Houston's funeral, soul singer Roberta Flack said, "Stevie Wonder rewrote the words to 'Ribbon In the Sky.' That was very special because that was her favorite song."
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