Whitney Houston's mother Cissy has enlisted the help of Aretha Franklin to give her daughter the best possible send-off at Saturday's funeral in Newark, New Jersey. Aretha - Whitney's godmother - will be taking to the stage at the New Hope Baptist Church to bid a final musical farewell to one of pop music's biggest stars, reports CNN.
Though Cissy is keen to keep the event purely an invitation-based and intimate affair, a handful of celebrities will be attending the funeral, including Aretha, who will perform, and Whitney's rumored ex-boyfriend Ray J. Elsewhere, the pop stars Brandy and Chaka Khan will also be in attendance, as will gospel singer Marvin Winans, who will lead the eulogy. A figure of controversy in recent days has been Whitney's ex-husband Bobby Brown, with speculation suggesting the singer's family are keen to banish him from the funeral. Releasing a statement yesterday, the New Edition star said his daughter Bobbi Kristina - who has been hospitalized twice in recent days - is "doing much better". He added, "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".
Houston will be buried next to her father John Russell Houston in a Fairview, New Jersey cemetery, according to TMZ.com. The Grammy award winner was found dead in the bathtub of her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday (February 11, 2012).