Some of Whitney Houston’s family members have arrived at the Whigham Funeral home for a private family viewing of the singer, who died Saturday.
A small procession of three gold limousines and two black SUVs, escorted by Newark police, arrived at the funeral home on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at 5:03 p.m. today. One black Nissan also arrived with Georgia license plates. Some onlookers cheered the arrivals of the vehicles, as well as a Lincoln Town Car with New York plates.
Cissy Houston, Whitney's mother, was seen at the funeral home. It was not immediately known if Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina, 18, had yet arrived for the private viewing. According to multiple reports, she has not seen her mother’s body since she was found dead at a Beverly Hills hotel.
There were multiple signs all day that a private viewing would take place, although Carolyn Whigham, the funeral home’s director and a longtime friend of the Houston family, would not confirm or deny it.
Earlier this afternoon, Newark police closed the block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Court and Mercer streets where the funeral home sits. That area had also been cleared of vehicles, although some media trucks remain.
|Whitney Houston's family – including her daughter Bobbi Kristina – spent time at the Whigham funeral home in Newark, N.J., on Friday.|
A large precinct truck has been parked in front of the north end of the funeral home’s driveway most of the afternoon. A row of curtains had been raised around a side entrance of the funeral home, which would obstruct a view of anyone who might step out of a car in the driveway to attend a service.
Metal fencing was placed up across the street from the funeral home to keep media from going beyond the double-yellow lines of the boulevard.
Fans and onlookers are being barricaded along Court and Mercer streets.
A florist van delivered a huge bouquet of yellow roses to the funeral home. At around 2 p.m., three gold-colored limousines left the funeral home, escorted by four motorcycle police officers. One limousine fitting that description was seen in South Plainfield today, where Michael Houston, Whitney’s brother, resides.
Media trucks and correspondents from multiple outlets remain encamped in front of and behind the funeral home in the city’s Central Ward in anticipation of Houston’s announced, invite-only funeral on Saturday.
Whigham has repeatedly asked the dozens of photographers, videographers, correspondents and reporters that have converged outside the funeral home since Houston’s body arrived earlier this week to respect the family’s privacy.
Funeral services for Houston are to be held at New Hope Baptist Church in the city at noon Saturday.
The invitation-only services are expected to attract an A-list of luminaries from the music and entertainment industries and others, including Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and possibly Bobby Brown, Houston’s former husband and father of their daughter.