At the request of Whitney Houston's mother, Cissy Houston, the gospel singer Marvin Winans is reported to be leading the eulogy at her funeral this coming Saturday (February 18, 2012). Marvin was chosen to speak at the funeral as he was a close friend of Whitney's and officiated her marriage to Bobby Brown in 1992, according to USA Today.
Whitney was also friends with Marvin's bother, CeCe Winans, whom recorded the song 'Count on Me' for the 1995 film Waiting to Exhale. It is expected that the Winans family will all be attendance at the funeral, which the Houstons have requested be kept private. When asked of any of his family will perform at the service, Winans reportedly said that "whatever Momma Houston wants, that's what she's going to get."
Many floral tributes have already been laid outside the New Hope Baptist Church in New Jersey ahead of the funeral on Saturday. Whitney's family have requested that, in lieu of cards and flowers, well-wishers make a donation to the Whitney Houston Academy of Creative and Performing Arts in East Orange. Regular members of the church's congregation, as well as Whitney's fans have spoken to reporters regarding the family's request for privacy. Samuel Turner Jackson told USA Today that although he was disappointed to learn that members of the public would not be invited to attend on Saturday, he acknowledged the Houston family's need for privacy, saying "They shared Whitney with us for 48 years, and we'll always be eternally grateful for that."