50 years in 50 weeks: Ronnie Spector ruled in 2014

  • by Jim Provenzano
  • Thursday February 3, 2022
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50 years in 50 weeks: Ronnie Spector ruled in 2014

"Gay people made us. I love it. People have caught up. People have a chance to be who they are."

That's just one of many great quotes writer Andre Torrez got in his July 3, 2014 interview with music legend Ronnie Spector. The Ronettes singer performed at Burger Boogaloo, Oakland's fun outdoor music concert that summer.

As Torrez wrote, "In her book, Spector explains how gays (this being before LGBT was a term) were some of The Ronettes' biggest supporters. To this day she attributes that to what she suspects is their shared experience of being considered other."

While Torrez tactfully dodged questions about her tumultuous marriage to famed music producer (and later, convicted murderer) Phil Spector, he did cover the singer's career with insight.

"The group, born out of Spanish Harlem, consisted of herself as the lead singer with sister Estelle and cousin Nedra on backup. The audience wasn't really sure if they were Black, white or "Spanish" (she's Black, white and Cherokee) and early on, record companies didn't really know how to package them for marketing purposes.

"We felt different in junior high and in high school. People would pick on me before we became The Ronettes. 'What am I?'" she thought of herself. Surely that otherness was the identifiable quality the gay community warmed up to.

Ronnie Spector died on January 12, 2022.

Read the full interview at


Read the full issue at


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