<em>Formerly played drums for Cissy and Whitney Houston</em> <img class="wp-image-1597 alignnone" title="erics_brown_cissy_houston" src="http://www.thegeorgiastar.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/erics_brown_cissy_houston.jpg" alt="" width="516" height="455" /><br clear=all><em>Erics Brown and Cissy Houston</em> By Frances Calhoun Bradley Photo by Erics Brown Erics Brown was devastated when he heard of thedeath of friend, Whitney Houston, in her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on the eve of the GrammyAwards, February 11, 2012. Brown, a Jacksonville native, played drums for Cissy and Whitney Houston for 23 years and 14 years, respectively, during the New Hope Baptist Church Gospel Choir’s Sunday radio broadcasts. He described his relationship with the Houstons as family-like, referring to the elder Houston as "mother" throughout the interview. Brown received a phone call from a grieving Cissy Houston requesting his attendance at the funeral. Only guests with invitations were allowed through the many checkpoints approaching the church, with security provided by Newark and military police through the area. Although Brown walked into the funeral with the family, he was asked to move to another area near Bishop T. D. Jakes and Rev. Jesse Jackson, when it was clear there was not enough seating for the immediate the family. A repast was held on the 22nd floor of the Newark Center, where guests were required to show repast tickets to gain entry. According to Erics, an invitation to the funeral did not guarantee entry to the repast. He was seated at a table across from Whitney’s Bodyguard co-star, Kevin Costner and his wife. Pictures were allowed at the repast (but not inside the church). Browns snapped many of the celebrities in attendance, i.e. Oprah, Gayle King, TylerPerry, Angela Bassett, Viveca A. Fox, Brandy, Derek Luke, and JenniferHudson.