Many members of Whitney Houston’s friends and family were able to pay their respects to the late singer during her “home going” service in Newark, New Jersey this morning. Unfortunately, Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown and godmother Aretha Franklin were not able to fully participate. Though initial reports indicated that Brown was not welcome at the memorial, he was invited and attended — but only briefly, as he abruptly left shortly after the service began. And though Franklin was scheduled to perform in tribute to her goddaughter, the singer never showed up. Find out what happened to both Brown and Franklin below.
Brown attended the service with a large entourage, but became increasingly frustrated when his party was asked to move several times. The New Edition singer explained what happened in a statement:
“My children and I were invited to the funeral of my ex-wife Whitney Houston. We were seated by security and then subsequently asked to move on three separate occasions. I fail to understand why security treated my family this way and continue to ask us and no one else to move. Security then prevented me from attempting to see my daughter Bobbi Kristina.
In light of the events, I gave a kiss to the casket of my ex-wife and departed as I refused to create a scene. My children are completely distraught over the events. This was a day to honor Whitney. I doubt Whitney would have wanted this to occur. I will continue to pay my respects to my ex-wife the best way I know how.”
Rev. Al Sharpton tried to console Brown, tweeting, “I am at Whitney’s funeral. I spoke with Bobby Brown trying to calm him down and not distract from the services. Today is about Whitney!”
As for Franklin, she had to bow out of her appearance due to health concerns. Read her full statement below:
“Regretfully, I am so sorry that I was unable to be with you at Whitney’s service today. I had every intention of being there. But unfortunately I had terrible leg spasms and locked leg muscles until 4:00AM this morning following my concert last night, which I’ve been having for the last few days. I feel it necessary and very important to stay off my leg today as much as possible until concert time this evening. My heart goes out to my dear friend Cissy, Dionne, Bobbi Kristina and the rest of the family. May God keep them all.”
Though Brown left early and Franklin was unable to attend, Kevin Costner gave a touching speech about working with the singer on The Bodyguard, and Alicia Keys performed “Send Me An Angel.” (Watch both here.)