When Aretha Franklin abruptly canceled her performance at Whitney Houston’s funeral, the soul singer cited a bout of leg spasms as the reason she could not pay tribute to her late goddaughter.
But her absence at Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church on Saturday nevertheless raised eyebrows, with reports suggesting a feud between Franklin and Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston. The alleged origins of the so-called falling-out: an interview Franklin did with NBC’s Today show following the “I Will Always Love You” singer’s sudden death on Feb. 11.
“I think parents have to really talk to their children before they leave home … (that they) leave home prepared, really. She left home with all the right things,” Franklin told Al Roker last week.
In a statement issued Wednesday, via The Associated Press, Franklin aimed to clarify reports that Cissy Houston had disinvited her from the funeral and said her Today show quote was taken out of context.
“Cissy Houston and I have been longtime friends for almost 50 years. I have four invitations and parking passes that were sent to me for the funeral,” said Franklin, who paid tribute to Houston hours after her funeral at Radio City Music Hall. “Cissy does not need ridiculous speculation and neither do I — particularly at this time.”
“Knowing Cissy as well as I do, I know Whitney left home right and properly. I was generalizing and it was a well-intended statement for any young adult coming into the music industry. I was not speaking of anyone specifically,” she explained.
A rep for the Today show did not immediately respond to THR’s request for comment.