Aretha Franklin is an American icon, and her voice will stay with us forever. As great as “Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” and so many of her other songs are, Aretha remains more than just a pillar of the American music industry. When she sang “RESPECT,” we knew that Aretha commanded respect on multiple levels. Aretha commanded respect for all women – whether women in the music industry, in business, in hospitals, in schools, or at home. Aretha commanded respect for African-Americans – both female and male. Aretha was the definition of a respected woman: she was respected by her peers as well as across socioeconomic boundaries including race, religion, and gender. Aretha established the women’s movement with her power and grace long before others were officially organized as “movements.” Aretha shattered glass ceilings and broke down barriers with her determination and talent. Aretha is widely heralded as the “Queen of Soul.” She is that, but in my eyes she is so much more. Aretha Franklin told us in no uncertain terms that in order to get respect, you better give respect -regardless of your gender, your race, your religion, or your profession. In my eyes, Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Respect.