This is why Aretha Franklin carried her handbag on stage

aretha franklin
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Rex)

For such a staple accessory, handbags certainly seem to mean far more celebrities. The Queen uses her send a secret signal to her staff when she's bored with someone, and Princess Diana used her clutch bags to stop paps from getting pictures of her cleavage.

Now it turns out Aretha Franklin always had to have hers on stage with her at the beginning of her career for a special reason.

The late singer was of course known for being the Queen of Soul, and for always looking ultra glam on stage (she loved feathers and sequins).

Her handbags, be in a Chanel quilted bag or bejewelled clutch bag, were always fancy, but it was what was inside it that truly mattered to her.

aretha franklin

Photo: Rex

According to The New Yorker’s editor David Remnick, who profiled her in 2016, this was because it contained the cash she collected for her performance.

He wrote, 'She collects on the spot or she does not sing. The cash goes into her handbag and the handbag either stays with her security team or goes out onstage and resides, within eyeshot, on the piano.'

Her friend Travis Smiley added it was due to the ear she grew up in. He said, 'She saw so many people, like Ray Charles and B.B. King, get ripped off … There is the sense in her very often that people are out to harm you. And she won’t have it. You are not going to disrespect her.'

We hope no one even thought about disrespecting her after that.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.