Ronnie Spector

Ronnie Spector – The 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Presentation with Ronnie Spector – Waldorf Astoria hotel – New York City – Photo Credit: Daniel Locke / PR Photos

Birth Name: Veronica Yvette Bennett

Date of Birth: August 10, 1943

Place of Birth: Spanish Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Death: January 12, 2022

Place of Death: Danbury, Connecticut, U.S.

Ethnicity: African-American

Ronnie Spector was an American rock and roll and pop music singer. She fronted the girl group The Ronettes, or Ronnie and the Relatives, with her sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley. The group is famous for their hits, “Be My Baby,” “Baby, I Love You,” “The Best Part of Breakin’ Up,” and “Walking in the Rain.” Ronnie was also known for her single “So Young.” Ronnie was billed under other names, Veronica Spector, Ronnie Bennett, and Ronnie Greenfield, and nicknamed the “Bad Girl of Rock and Roll.”

Ronnie was born Veronica Yvette Bennett in New York City, the daughter of Beatrice (Mobley) and Louis Albert Bennett. Her parents were both black, as were her grandparents. Her father was born in Georgia, and her mother was born in Florida. While her father is sometimes described as having been of Irish descent, and her mother as being of part Cherokee Native American ancestry, it is not clear if any Irish and/or Cherokee ancestry has been verified for Ronnie.

Ronnie and her sister Estelle (1941–2009) were encouraged to sing by their large family, as was their cousin, Nedra, who was of African-American and Puerto Rican descent.

Ronnie was married to Jonathan Greenfield, her manager, until her death. She had three children with her former husband, record producer, musician, and songwriter Phil Spector; and two children with Jonathan. She largely used Phil’s name professionally.

Ronnie’s paternal grandfather was named George Washington Bennett. George was born in Georgia.

Ronnie’s paternal grandmother was Ethel Mae McIver (the daughter of Byron Julian McIver and Margaret/Maggie J. Weber). Ethel was born in Georgia. Byron was the son of Byron McIver and Elsie Monroe. Margaret was the daughter of Jacob Webber and Lotta.

Ronnie’s maternal grandfather was John F. Mobley (the son of Peter Mobley and Elizabeth Pipkin). John was born in Florida. Elizabeth was the daughter of Mary.

Ronnie’s maternal grandmother was named Susie Parrish (the daughter of James B. Parrish and Maria). Susie was born in Florida. James was the son of Abraham Parrish and Elsey.


Genealogies of Ronnie Spector –

Ronnie’s father on the 1920 U.S. Census –
Ronnie’s father on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Ronnie’s mother on the 1920 U.S. Census –
Ronnie’s mother on the 1930 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

20 Responses

  1. Native2 says:

    To Nativegirl,etc , I agree alot of Afrian Americans & Puerto Rican’s r incorrectly believing they r Native American. They aren’t of course. The Indians in Puerto Rico & most of the Carribean died out in the early 1600’s!

    • Mariposa says:

      Yes, most of the natives in the West Indies did die or were killed. But that isn’t a complete story. The pilgrims went to North America because of religious persecution. The Spanish, French, and Portuguese did not. They were on board ships for months and practically starving. They banged EVERYTHING in site. One boat of Spaniards in Hawaii produced hundreds of offspring. Anyhow, have you ever heard of honorary white status? This is done with the Japanese in South Africa. And in Puerto Rico, the Tainos that abandoned their way of life and converted to catholoscism, were listed as white on the census. Many natives also hid in the hills. Most Puerto Ricans are tri-racial. Some are bi-racial (black and white). It is proven through history and genetic testing. Almost everyone is mixed, but for some reason it is still up for debate. The typical mix of Puerto Ricans is somewhere between all three races, or somewhere between black and white.

  2. nativegirl says:

    a lot of african american people have been incorrectly led to believe that they are part Native when, in fact, they are not. sadly, being “black” or “african” was so looked down upon in the days after slavery that many african american people chose to claim Native ancestry. historical scholarship has shown us that the rate of Native and african american mixing was actually at a much lower rate than originally believed. so, when african american people claim Native ancestors, with little historical or familial evidence, i can’t help but doubt them.

    • Memphis says:

      In Northern states that may be somewhat true about Native and African interaction but down south we have the Lumbe tribes of the Carolinas that have a Native identity but are tri racial. The so called Melugeons of Tennesse and Kentucky that are also very mixed. Some Natives like the Cherokee and Choctaw had slaves and some intermixed. One of Seminole Chief, Osceola’s wives was of African descent. “African Americans” ancestry varies depending on the situation of that region. In some parts of the south, African Americans have a hidden Chinese ancestry like Oprah and James Brown that they have no clue about.

    • Mariposa says:

      Actually, I think some people mistakenly believe they are Native descent, when they don’t exactly know the genetic makeup of a family member. Some african americans mixed with european look “native”. But also, I think because of the racism experienced, many did not want to believe that they are related to whites.

    • Saimone says:

      Now since we are ready go disprove N.A. ancestry in A.a. let me say this Native Americans also had Black slaves. This is why there are so many AA people claiming to have Native Ancestry. They did mix, it is a fact. Now the census does not show this so much because like everyone knows it you looked too black, too dark,or didn’t have what people perceive to be NA features you were marked as black . Even those who were clearly of mixed race were marked as AA if they were in A house that was predominantly black. Now with all the genetic testing more people are seeing that there are a lot of AA with native American blood. Sorry for the typos it’s the touchscreen..

    • ena says:

      Go to Oklahoma you will change your mind.

  3. Jasmine says:

    Wow what a nice multiracial blend there.

  4. Megan Perkins says:

    Ronnie Spector is half Irish (Father) and half Black (mother).

  5. Fuzzybear says:

    She also said in an interview,that she was confused,she didn’t know if she was black or white.I thought that was crazy,to I remembered that when my sister was little,and we were at the park.This little white girl she was playing with asked her the same thing;however asks her that now

    • Jasmine says:

      She said that about her CHILDHOOD “Ronnie Spector said that at one point in her childhood, she was not sure if she was black or white.” Of course she didn’t fully understand as a child but I’m sure now she knows that shes multiracial and is just a human being regardless of race,and that she should just be who she is and accept all 3 racial categories because it’s wonderful and unique.

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