Tyler Perry, Clive Davis and BeBe Winans, along with many others, remembered Whitney Houston at a nearly four-hour memorial service Saturday at Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church.
Filmmaker Perry said he saw two constants about Houston. “There was a grace that carried her all the way through,” he said. She also loved the Lord, he added. Watch part of Perry’s remembrance below.
Winans brought one of first moments of laughter to the ceremony, saying he would miss “crazy Whitney” the most. The clearly emotional gospel singer told a story about Houston buying Winans and his sister CeCe outfits for their first headlining tour.
While sitting in Houston’s closet (“Her closet was about as big as this church, so we weren’t crowded”), Winans said he objected to the singer having clothes made. She then replied, according to Winans, “ ‘We love each other, right?’ Yeah, Whitney we love each other. And she said, ‘And y’all broke, right? ... I’m rich, right? So I can buy what I want for y’all.’ ”
Davis, Houston’s industry father and longtime mentor, recalled the many nights the two spent discussing music and her talent.
“You wait for a voice like that for a lifetime. You wait for a face like that, a smile like that, a presence like that for a lifetime,” Davis said. “It takes your breath away.”
Davis, who lost her mother when he was teen, addressed Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina. “You should always be proud of your mother. She loved you so very much,” Davis said to great applause. “She defined not only pure talent, but true heart and soul, as well. She’ll forever be looking after you and will never let go of your hand.”
In perhaps one of the saddest moments of the ceremony, Davis recalled a meeting he had with Houston shortly before she died. Houston told Davis she was getting back into vocal shape and promised to “be ready” for a comeback by August.
“Well, Whitney, I’m going to hold you to it,” Davis said. “Everyone in heaven, including God, is waiting.”
Watch Davis’s remembrance below.