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Whitney Houston's funeral called 'home going service'


February 18, 2012 - London

Whitney Houston's funeral, to be held on Saturday, is being called a "home going" on the invitations.

The invites are printed on a picture of the pop diva grinning with her eyes closed.

They say: "With Heartfelt gratitude, the Houston Family requests the honour of your presence at the home going service for Whitney Elizabeth Houston," the Sun reported.

A home going service is common in the US African-American community and is usually more upbeat than a typical funeral. It honours and celebrates the dead as they go "home" to Heaven to be with God.

Showbiz royalty will pay tribute to tragic superstar Houston in an emotional send-off.

Legends Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder will sing and Kevin Costner, her co-star in movie 'The Bodyguard', will give an address. Alicia Keys and R Kelly are also expected to perform.

Among celebrities at the invitation-only ceremony will be Jay-Z, his wife Beyonce, David Bowie, Elton John, chat show queen Oprah Winfrey, Houston's cousin Dionne Warwick and actor Bill Cosby.

Guests - including the 'I Will Always Love You' singer's record producer Clive Davis and actor pal Tyler Perry - will enter the 1,500-capacity church via one door, and family members will enter through another.

The ceremony begins at noon at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, and will be broadcast live online and on TV.

Afterwards the singer - found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel bath a week ago today - will be buried at nearby Fair View Cemetery in Westfield.

She will be in a plot next to her beloved dad John, who always called her by the pet name "Nippy".

ANI

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