My mom adored the Ronettes as a girl. She loved them more than the Supremes. The Ronettes — Ronnie Spector, her older sister Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley — were round the way girls, who were a bit tough around the edges: They wore their hair high, their skirts short, their heels high. Or they wear bellbottoms and leather pants. They just looked fucking cool.
Mom spent part of her girlhood in Harlem. Ronnie was born in East Harlem. She idolized them in a similar fashion to how I idolized Run DMC and Living Colour as a boy: They’re not only a source of local pride, but you can’t help but see yourself in them. They didn’t say it then but yes, representation matters. So I always kind of got it.
Ronnie was part of some of the most beloved songs ever recorded. And god, what a voice, y’all! No one quite sounds like her.
Long live the great Ronnie Spector!