By Sowmya Krishnamurthy
Whitney Houston’s funeral service is underway at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey that she grew up singing in. The homegoing celebration celebrates the life of the beloved singer with performances and words shared by the likes of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, singer and cousin Dionne Warwick, Queen Latifah, Tyler Perry, Kevin Costner, Stevie Wonder and Rev. Donnie McClurkin. An array of mourners and celebrities have been spotted at the church including ex-husband Bobby Brown, Oprah Winfrey and Mariah Carey.
Fans have taken to Twitter to share their emotions about the services with hashtags like #WhitneyHomegoing. Overwhelmingly, they appreciate the joyous, religious ceremony, tweeting “Whitney would have wanted us to praise God for her life. Amen,” “If you’ve got to go home, this is the way to go, girl” and “Well done Ms. Cissy for sending your baby home this way.”
Celebrities echoed the sentiment. Rihanna shared, “#DearWhitney your Legend, your spirit and your music will live with us for EVER!!! Impossible to forget you, you were the greatest!#1LOVE” while rapper Fat Joe writes, “Man sitting here watching her life her music of Whitney Houston. Man Did We Lose a GREAT ONE!!! WE LOVE U WHITNEY!!”
The funeral is a private affair and only invited guests are allowed into the church and the surrounding city blocks. Aretha Franklin, who is Whitney’s godmother, had been scheduled to sing “I Will Always Love You” at the service but canceled due to illness.