tv CNN Newsroom CNN February 18, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
>> reporter: jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> bye, whitney. >> that does it for me. i'm candy crowley in for wolf blitzer. join us every weekday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. eastern on cnn and at this time every day on cnn international. the news continues next on cnn. ♪ >> hello, everyone, i'm don lemon live from new york. you're in the cnn newsroom. with the world watching, a final goodbye to a music legend at the place where it all began for her. a spirited tribute that was all things at once. mournful, joyous, moving. a celebration of the life of whitney houston. ♪ what god lives is never a coincidence ♪
♪ and more than some happenstance ♪ >> it was a beautiful service. stevie wonder, just one of her friends saluting her during the funeral services at houston's hometown church in new jersey. alicia keys, art kelly, all honoring houston with their voices. stars like tyler perry and kevin costner told personal stories in memory of the superstar. aretha franklin was scheduled to be there but had to cancel because she wasn't feeling well. the service included a letter from her daughter, bobby christina. it read "god said it's time, your work is done. thanks for being a wonderful daughter." as for her ex-husband, bobby brown, he says in a written statement he wasn't happy about being asked to move three times and says security kept him from seeing his daughter. so he left because "i refused to create a scene." in all, it was roughly a four-hour homegoing tribute to
whitney houston and punctuating the service today, a recording of louft's "i will always love you" as pallbearers carried her casket out. ♪ i will always love you ♪ i will always love you >> gospel singer marvin winans spoke at the service. he began by thanking houston's mother, cissy, for bringing the service back home to newark. >> that took a lot of courage. and because of that, you brought the world to church today. we, the winans, the four brothers, we were assigned to william morris. and whitney, this young new star, who i thought sounded a
lot like c.c. when i heard her, but she was also assigned to william morris agency at the time. and we both had the same agent, a man by the name of marshal resnick. and so he told us, he said, have you heard of whitney houston? i said yeah, i've heard of her. he said, well, this is her first album and so when she went on tour, he said, well, she's singing you guys' song. and i said, what song is that? he said, she sings your song "tomorrow." and he should have never told kevin that, because he was going to stay awake day and night until he got in touch with whitney houston. and i remember going to the hotel in beverly hills and, you know, we didn't know. he told us where she was staying, probably shouldn't have told us. but we went and whitney came
down. when i looked at her and said oh, lord, i'm in trouble. she said, why? i said you're going to be my missi missionary. we were thanking her for singing our song. the gifts that we have are god's gift to us. but the life that we live, it's our gift to god. and god says, i got you. so if you seek first the kingdom of god and his righteousness, then all these things shall be added. see, that's the part that allows you to work the foundation of your faith. to allow god to take you through
a wilderness area, knowing that he's going to take you the better for it. >> and cnn's susan candiotti is in newark for us tonight, outside the newark club restaurant. susan, i understand some of whitney houston's family and friends have gathered there and what they're calling the repass celebration tonight in newark. >> reporter: that's right. i don't know how many of us obviously have attended funerals in our lives. always afterwards, isn't it nice, don, to get together with family and friends. so you can share fond memories, maybe some tears and maybe some laughs. certainly there's a gathering and a dinner here tonight at this private club on the 22nd floor of this office building, private club in newark, with a beautiful view of the city. and yes indeed we did see cissy houston. we believe that we saw bobby christina, keeping in mind we've been kept across the street. but a lot of onlookers here, as well.
seeing also reverend jesse jackson and tyler perry. we saw oprah and gayle king. jennifer hudson and a number of other celebrities, people that you too would recognize. and a couple of them actually, when they came out, kevin costner was here, as well, waved to the crowd, to their delight, of course. when we spoke with the people here, who came by, they talked about how inspirational and emotional it was to be here and to see these people after watching the funeral. many of them at home on television and felt compelled to come down here. and no doubt for the people who were inside, certainly a comforting experience, don. >> susan candiotti, no doubt. thank you very much. susan candiotti from newark for us tonight. whitney houston will be remembered as one of the greatest voices of her generation. and many of her closest friends say the troubled star was poised to make a comeback. but that comeback was tragically cut short with her untimely death. whitney houston's soaring talent
was shadowed by her troubles with addiction and marriage sadly. a special report next hour. i'm going to take a look at her rise to fame, fall from stardom and the final hours in her troubled life. here's a preview. ♪ but above all this i wish you love ♪ >> that legendary ballad. that blinding beauty. ♪ and i will always love you >> that breathtaking voice. whitney houston, the shy jersey girl who belted her way to superstardom. six grammys and a record seven consecutive number one singles. for a time, she was pop's greatest love of all. ♪ the greatest love of all
>> to hear her voice was a miracle, because for anybody to be able to do with a voice what she did with hers speaks to ady vibe order. >> whitney houston, the icon. talented but also fatally flawed. >> there were many different sides to whitney. there was the performer, the consummate professional, there was the addict, and you never knew which whitney youer going to get. >> if houston was blessed by the heavens, she was most certainly cursed with her own demons. a contradiction right up to her final days. >> this was not a woman who was depressed, upset, high, drunk. >> oh, my gosh, she's a mess right now. >> whitney houston died here at the beverly hilton on february 11.
the voice of a generation silenced forever. a tragic ending to life filled with promise that was almost preordained. and you can watch "death of a diva," one of the stories you don't want to miss airing tonight follow this news cast at 8:00 p.m. eastern. next, tyler perry delivers a moving eulogy to whitney houston. and later, kevin costner shares his memories. but first -- ♪ but i'll miss your whit i'll miss your charm ♪ ♪ i just want to hold you in my arms ♪ ♪ you have no clue how i'll miss you ♪ ♪ i'll miss your voice
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among the eloquent voices at the service today was actor, director, producer tyler perry. perry reportedly gave houston's family the use of his private jet to fly her body home to newark. here are some of his very moving words. >> there are two constants that i know about whitney houston, and one is that there was a grace that carried. a grace that carried her from heaven down through cissy houston. a grace that brought her up through singing. from what i understand, she wasn't supposed to be able speak, let alone sing because of
an incident that happened as a child. but there was a grace that kept on carrying her all the way through. this same grace led her all the way to the top of the charts. sold all of these albums and done some amazing things, won all these awards she's sang for presidents. there was a grace that kept on carrying her. the other thing i know, for sure, and this is more important than anything that she's ever done, whitney houston loved the lord. and in every conversation we had over these years, it was evident that she loved the lord. she loved the lord. when i think about her, there's a scripture in my heart, i keep thinking about when paul was talks about i am persuaded that nothing shall separate me from the love of god. so what i know about her is nothing separated her from the love of god. if you look at what paul was saying, he said, neither height,
which meant no matter how far she went in the stratosphere, nothing separated her -- [ applause ] neither height nor depth, no matter how much struggle or what she had to go through, no matter what she had to walk through, it still wasn't enough to separate her from the love of god, nor principalities, nor power, nor things present, nor things to come. nothing was able to separate her from the love of god. so what i know about her is that she loved the lord. and if there was a grace that carried her all the way through, it was the same grace that carried her home. >> tyler perry today. bishop t.d. jakes said he got to know houston while producing the movie "sparkle." he's the senior pastor of the potter house, a 30,000 member church in dallas. and he reminded listeners that the pain they are feeling today
is not forever. >> i know to some of you today it looks like death has won. but i rose to tell you that 2,000 years ago -- [ applause ] love rode into the ring and said wait a minute, death, you've been bullying people for a long time. but i want to set the record straight. love is greater than death. rolled up his sleeves and they fought all over jerusalem and wrestled all through the cross and the fight went down to the grave and death said see, i did to you just like i did all the rest of them. death started having a party on friday night. it was one of those weekend parties. lasted all the way through friday night and all saturday, looked like death had won. but early sunday morning, love rolled up his sleeves and said
wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, snatched death and took the sting out of death and the victory out of the grave. and i want you to understand, i'm not going to preach, i'm not going to start, but i feel it. i want you to understand in a very practical and pragmatic way that death has not won. your tears may flow. your pain may come. the flowers will wither. the phone will stop ringing. momma says they're going to stop ringing after a while and the cakes and pies will stop coming. don't you dare think that death has won. you will learn what all of us know what have lost people that we love. you'll be driving down the street one day and you'll hear whitney's voice talking in your head, something she said or something she did will pop up in your spirit and you'll giggle
inside of yourself as if she were sitting in the car with you. and you will find that people that you really love, they may leave you outwardly, but they never leave you inwardly. may the love of god, the peace of the holy spirit, the sweet communion of knowing that you are a child of the king keep you through this period in life when it might appear as if death has won. but it's a lie. love will last forever, for god is love. [ applause ] >> bishop t.d. jakes, everyone. straight ahead, other special moments from whitney houston's funeral, including an emotional eulogy by kevin costner.
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♪ whitney houston was already, already a music superstar when kevin costner approached her about starring in the movie "the bodyguard." and in his touching tribute today, he talked about the struggle to convince the studio to take a chance on her and convincing whitney herself that she was good enough for the part. >> it's a tree we can all hang from, the unexplainable burden comes with fame. call it doubt, call it fear. i've had mine, and i know the famous in the room have had theirs. i asked her to trust me and she said she would. half hour later she went back in to do her screen test and the
studio fell in love with her. the whitney i knew, despite her success and worldwide fame still wondered am i good enough? am i pretty enough? will they like me? it was the burden that made her great and the part that caused her to stumble in the end. whitney, if you could hear me now, i would tell you, you weren't just good enough. you were great. you sang the whole damn song without a band. you made the picture what it was. a lot of leading men would have played my part. a lot of guys could have filled that role. but you, whitney, i truly believe you were the only one that could have played rachel maren at that time. [ applause ]
you weren't just pretty. you were as beautiful as a woman could be. and people didn't just like you, whitney. they loved you. i was your pretend bodyguard once not so long ago. and now you're gone, too soon leaving us with memories, memories of a little girl who stepped bravely in front of this church, in front of the ones that loved you first, in front of the ones that loved you best, and loved you the longest. then boldly you stepped into the white hot light of the world stage. and what you did is the rarest of achievements. you set the bar so high that professional singers, your own colleagues, they don't want to sing that little country song,
what would be the point? now the only one who sings your songs are young girls like you, who are dreaming of being you some day. and so to you, bobby christina and to all those young girls who are dreaming that dream, but maybe thinking they aren't good enough, i think whitney would tell you, guard your bodies and guard the precious miracle of your own life. and then sing your hearts out knowing that there's a lady in hemp who is making god himself wonder how he created something so perfect. so off you go, whitney. off you go.
escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father. and when you sing before him, don't you worry. you'll be good enough. [ applause ] >> whether it was on the bill board charts or on the big screen, whitney houston certainly made her mark. she was remembered at last night's naacp image awards. ♪ >> the award featured performances dedicated to her, including this one by yolanda adams and it was aamazing
performance. she ended by saying, we love you, nip. nip was whitney houston's nickname. straight ahead, more on today's service. services remembering whitney houston and a look at the other top stories making headlines, including unrest in the streets of syria, blocks away from the presidential palace.
want to get a check of the headlines for you right now on cnn. the world watched as whitney houston's family and friends said their goodbyes at her -- to her today. a funeral was held for the superstar at her hometown church in newark, new jersey. so many famous faces were on hand. tyler perry, kevin costner, stevie wonder, alicia keys and so many more. a crowd of mourners in damascus, syria, flee as security forces fired on them. two people were killed as the funeral march turned into a protest against president assad. 50 more were killed across syria. meanwhile, a chinese official urged syrian leaders to negotiate with the opposition. iranial navy ships have
passed into the mediterranean sea. a deployment one year ago stirred fears in israel. iran claims the deployment is meant to show friendship in the area. egypt is going ahead with the trial of 43 foreigners who worked for pro democracy organizations, including several americans. the proceedings will take place on february 26. the activists are accused of receiving illegal foreign funding. some u.s. lawmakers are threatening to review aid to egypt over the issue. fire officials in honduras are desperately searching for answers to the cause of a prison fire that killed 382 people. a u.s. arson team has been called in to help. they're looking into a theory that a mattress fire started this blaze. tuesday night's fire angered many families because the many
victims were not convicted criminals. to presidential hopefuls. rick santorum says romney's solution was to ask congress for millions of dollars in federal earmarks. santorum says that makes romney a hypocrite. romney has criticized santorum for bringing home federal dollars while serving in the senate. in new york, police have found human remains on long island, but it's not clear if they are connected to at least ten other sets of remains already under investigation by police. the latest discovery is about 40 miles from where the other remains have been found, but they have raised concerns about a potential serial killer. dealing with the challenges of being in the spotlight. whitney houston was often quoted as saying she was her own worst enemy. next, we'll talk about the sheer
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let's talk more about the whitney houston story and other stories. cultural commentator and critic goldie taylor joins me now. how are you doing today? >> i'm better now. >> listen, before i get to, you know, the question that we have here on this teleprompter for you, what did you think of today's service? >> i think it was -- i'm all prayed up for the week, i don't know if i have to go to church tomorrow. but we had church today. and church extended itself across the social networks and onto twitter and we were together today and that was something great. >> that was great. but you said church but you didn't say it has a lot of us and rs. >> we went to church. >> sometimes her personal struggles, i shouldn't say it outweighed her talent, but it overshadowed it at times. what do you make of that?
everyone is flawed in some way and we certainly don't want to say on the day of her memorial service anything bad about whitney houston, but we're trying to talk about the challenges of stardom for anyone. >> you know, the pressures the world stage that whitney houston and others like her know is a level of scrutiny that, you know, most of us will never know or understand. i liken it to having three coats on in the dead of the summertime. it's hot, you know, it's weighing, it's heavy, and sometimes it can be just about unbearable. and if you're in the right heat, it can break you. >> yeah. >> and so for whitney and i had the pleasure of knowing here in atlanta, you know, it was -- i watched her struggle with it, and it was a miracle to me how often she came back with a new victory. i'm not certain that i could have been as strong.
>> she's not the only one. there have been so many others, and i think in all of it today, including -- and marvin winans' eulogy, i think the message was, love people, don't judge, because whitney may have had apaddiction she admitted to. there's no difference with having an addiction to food or cigarettes. it will take longer but it will kill you. and many other things. an addiction to sex and adrenaline, it will take longer but it will kill you. maybe out of all of this, we can start talking about this and not being in denial. >> what i've said about this is whitney gave us a cast of incredible gifts. but she paid for that. there was a price for the life she led to give us what she had. >> we talked a lot about this
week about how whitney houston changed the music industry. so what legacy do you think that whitney houston leaves for younger artists? >> you know, i think she broke down so many doors, she opened so many pathways. so we know jennifer hudson now, we know alicia now, we know so many incredibly strong voices, you know, who while we might have heard them, we may not have heard them with as much clarity. they may not have come across the deals that they've been blessed with. so she did so much for so many on and off the stage and that will be her enduring legacy. there are so many people who lived on the world stage, who have had other tragedies in their lives. but i think as the ages go on, we whether remember this incredible gift that she left us with. >> and a gift that cissy houston gave us today by having that
ceremony in that church rather than the prudential center. >> absolutely. i think it was in so many ways a homegoing service, so that meant both for them, the physical church and her home in heaven. i think that's what has been missed today. >> yeah. goldie taylor, i'll see you live in atlanta tomorrow. make sure you are there. we're going to talk more, not only about this but other events in the world. thank you, goldie taylor. >> thank you, don. looking forward to it. whitney houston was staging a big comeback before her death. she had just done a remake of the 1976 film "sparkle." how many of you remember that? we'll talk with a reporter about what houston told them about her role and what would be her last interview for that magazine.
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said it would have relaunched her career. cory, you spent time with her and i spoke with shawn robins from "access hollywood." you did an interview with her for "essence." what did you make of her and how she was doing during this interview? >> speaking with her, she was so, you know, spirited, she was full of life. she was clear. you go in there and you think, oh, my god, what is this whitney going to be like. she was just alert. >> yeah, healthy, good spirits. >> just full of life. >> and she was in good spirits. >> she was joking, i interviewed her and the producer on "sparkle." they were joking with each other and telling great stories from when they saw the original "sparkle." >> what did she say about returning to the big screen and
"sparkle," that's a lot to live up to, right? >> she didn't talk about returning to the big screen a lot, but how "sparkle" is her heart project. she was originally going to do it with alea. she told me that god needed alea more, and now here we are talking about her because she's gone on herself, all around "sparkle." >> the movie is loosely based on the supremes and it was a 1976 movie. it's a culturally iconic movie. i remember watching it when i was a kid. >> she was having such a ball filming it. her and deborah martin chase joked about the fact that, i guess initially whitney was going to be like a younger hot momma. and now ten years later, she's like, i'm still going to be fly. she said that.
this momma is still fly. >> i'm going to be a mother instead of a hot momma. why did she take the part? because it kind of paralleled her life a little bit -- not a little bit, a lot. >> i think it was disappointing with the last album she did. so it was such a heart project for her that she just wanted to see it come to light. >> let's talk about this, because we don't know what happened to whitney houston, but we do know from her, her own mouth she had a problem with substance abuse. if you've ever dealt with someone who has had abuse issues they can, for years, they can be fine and then fall off. a sip of wine, one drink, anything can be a trigger. >> shaka kahn's interview was so enlightening. even though she's been clean for several years, she's still
vulnerable. she said someone like her -- whitney, should not have been in l.a. for that long of a time. she should have come in, or the day of the performance and then leave. you know, not to be around -- i think she said around rift raft. >> she said she needed a team of people around her to keep the rift raft away. and if she -- and if the people around her really were serious about her recovery, being a recovering addict, they would have brought her in a day before or right before the event that she had to perform for, and then leave immediately after. >> i thought that was so telling. maybe that's what should have happened. whitney had been in rehab as recently as may. so she still had a lot of demons to deal with. >> that part of our conversation is to get people to learn and to not be in denial about this, about abuse issues, if there's any good that will come out of this. but today is a day to honor whitney houston.
>> and watching that funeral today, i know we joked about it, but it's like we went to church. the first person that got up said we're going to go to church today. coming here, i was getting emotional. i felt like i went to the funeral of a family friend. you know, just everything, the preaching, the singing, the -- >> everything. >> everything. >> i said before, when i thought about it, everyone was like, you know, why aren't they having a big ceremony? and i said these are church going people all of their lives and that's what they want to have. my family would want to have the same sort of thing. i knew we were going to go to church and there was going to be shouting and crying. >> the impromptu of the winans coming up and singing "tomorrow." just everything, it was beautiful. >> the family needed it and we all did, too. we all got a chance to exhale.
thank you. >> thank you. and we have a program reminder for you. you can catch "death of a diva," one of the stories you don't want to miss airing tonight following this news cast at 8:00 p.m. eastern. and if you miss whitney houston's funeral, we'll show you some of the most poignant moments coming up. you ready? we wanna be our brother's keeper. what's number two we wanna do? bring it up to 90 decatherms. how bout ya, joe? let's go ahead and bring it online. attention on site, attention on site. now starting unit nine. some of the world's cleanest gas turbines are now powering some of america's biggest cities. siemens. answers.
>> it is a long, long way to heaven ♪ ♪ but i got to get there >> we'll let you know that tonight at 10 eastern, walton who wrote the songs how do i know and "i want to dance with somebody" will join us live to talk about working with whitney houston. that's tonight at 10 p.m. eastern. the biggest moments of the service for whitney houston we're going to play for you next. first, donnie mcclark sings us to break with his song "stand." ♪ seems like you can't make it
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p.m. eastern. cnn presents whitney houston, the death of a diva, is next. we leave you with the most poignant moments of today's service for whitney houston. ♪ ♪ she was born in newark ♪ she was heaven sent. ♪ >> we are here to mourn our loss but to celebrate her life, one of our angels, whitney houston. ♪ ♪ a long time coming, but a change had to come ♪ >> what i know about her is she loved the lord and if that was a grace that carried her all the way through, it was the same grace that carried her home. ♪ ♪ but i know she wasn't afraid
to die ♪ >> so say whatever you want. god was for her, and she is resting singing with the angels. god bless you, family. god bless you, whitney, we love you so much. ♪ whitney understood somebody is waiting beyond the sky ♪ >> she told god she was going to be aretha, like her cousin dion and her mother cissy. there is little doubt in this room she joined their ranks and as the debate heats up this century, and it surely will, about the greatest singer of the last century, as the lists are drawn, it will have little meaning to me if her name is not on it. ♪ yeah, because whitney is an angel ♪ ♪ she is an angel
>> without knowing of her love of music, her passion, and her absolutely natural genius in interpreting songs, certainly don't know all of whitney houston. personally, all i can say is that i loved her very much. ♪ we never forget what you done for us, no, no, no ♪ >> everyone in heaven, including god, is waiting, and i just know you will raise the roof like no one else has done before. ♪ ♪ no more, whitney, no more do you have to cry. ♪ ♪ you will always be our ribbon in the sky ♪
♪ >> today we ask a family celebrate the life of our sister, our daughter, our mother, and our friend. ♪ ♪ can't you hear whitney telling us love today ♪ ♪ >> don't grieve for me. for now i am he free. i am following the path god laid for me. ♪ do i hear a song ♪ ♪ i look to you >> god wanted me now. he set me free. ♪ yes,