In 2015, my friends Bee and Sarah were producers on the Seth Meyers show. When I heard Aretha Franklin was coming on I did something I’d never done before: I threatened their lives if they didn’t let me come watch from backstage. Why? RESPECT. That night I tucked into a green room at NBC studios and waited for the Queen to arrive. Even though it was super hot and muggy — turning off the A/C was one of her longtime performance requirements — she arrived in a fur coat that she took off only two seconds before she went on stage and sang a reworked version of “I Will Survive.” I nearly died. Curiously, Aretha had a sparkly purse with her at all times, which she insisted on always having in her eye line — even when she performed. (It was placed on Seth’s desk while cameras rolled.) Someone told me it contained $10,000 in cash, “just in case.” After the show she hung around and was every bit as regal as I’d hoped — I even met the full-time purse holder. (That’s his shoulder behind me in this pic.) As I read all these touching memorials today, I keep thinking of the fur coat and the pocketbook of cash: The Memphis-born daughter of a preacher who became the undisputed Queen of Soul around the world. I say a little prayer for you, too.