Whitney Houston’s Funeral To Be A “Home Going” Service

Whitney Houston’s invitation-only funeral this Saturday in New Jersey is no longer a “funeral”, per se — the late singer’s family is describing it as a “home going service”, which is a more positive type of burial service that encourages the celebration of one’s life. The invitation, which features a photo of a glowing, gorgeous Houston, reads, “With heartfelt gratitude, the Houston Family requests the honor of your presence at the home going service for Whitney Elizabeth Houston.”

Meanwhile, Whitney’s purported on-and-off boyfriend Ray J (brother to artist Brandy) released a statement regarding Houston’s death. “Over the past few days I’ve tried to process the emptiness that I am experiencing,” Ray J wrote. “What my heart feels cannot be expressed in words. The world lost an icon, but I lost my close friend. Nippy, I miss you so much! You were so happy and full of love. Your smile will live in my heart forever.”

The two never confirmed their relationship status, though it was apparent the two were very close. “I have a lot of love for her, and I have a lot of respect for her,” said Ray J on a February 10 episode of The Insider. “Our friendship is something that people might not understand, maybe because of the age difference, but we’ve always just been friends,” Ray J said. “We hug, we laugh, we go out to dinner. … We talk about, you know, different things in our lives and she’s a cool person.”

Houston’s “home going service” will be held at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark. The service, which will feature performances by Stevie Wonder and Houston’s godmother Aretha Franklin, will be streamed online for the public this Saturday at 12 p.m. EST.