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March 07, 2016

Family, Friends Remember Ron Ellis at Memorial Service

LOS ANGELES—The family and friends of beloved adult industry professional Ron Ellis gathered Saturday at Kenneth Hahn Park in Baldwin Hills to celebrate his life. Ellis’ younger sister, Tamara Correa, hosted the memorial at a cozy picnic shelter situated about 50 yards from Gwen Moore Lake, welcoming dozens of his loved ones for an afternoon of good food and fond memories. “The best part about life is meeting someone like him and knowing someone like him,” Correa said, recalling that she considered Ron “my first friend.” Ellis, who was the head of the Teazeworld network of adult star websites, passed away Feb. 10 in Las Vegas at 44. Known in the business as a webmaster, photographer and videographer, the native of Monroe, La., was also remembered as a big brother, confidant and mentor. Several in attendance shared personal tributes by coming to the microphone that was set up next to a framed photo of Ellis—taken at Tamara’s wedding—that was surrounded by bouquets of flowers. Ellis’ younger brother, Krishna, told the gathering “just seeing everybody here makes me know he touched a lot of people and his life was valuable." “I want to do the same thing," Krishna Ellis said. "It’s an inspiration to me as a man to want to touch people and have an influence on them.” Krishna later added that Ron helped push him to get his diploma when he had fallen behind in high school and had to make up for missing class time. “He would tell me, ‘You’re going to get it done.’ I had to go to school from 6 o’clock to 3 o’clock and then go back from 4 to 7. He’d pick me up and drive me there and then pick me up and drive me back and then do it again. He motivated me to do it,” Krishna said. Ron’s mother, Arma, echoed Krishna’s sentiments, saying her first son “was always an inspiration.” “Always brought joy,” Arma said. “The family was always in some type of business and he was always there to help me.” Ron, whose father Fred was also in attendance, first took an interest in photography when he was in ninth grade, Arma recalled. “I never knew that was going to end up being his life’s choice,” she said.   “When he was 18 he had a mini market,” Arma continued. “He was always in business doing something. … When the riots came in ’92, we had a business in a shopping center and because of Ron our business was saved because they were going to throw a moly cocktail at the window and [Ron] recognized one of the boys and he asked him not to because that was his mom’s business.” Ron, who graduated from Reseda High School in Reseda, Calif., and attended Cal State Northridge, also started a company called Naughty by Nature Lingerie; later Arma launched her own lingerie line with the same name. “From there he opened up clubs—little spots, after-hours, whatever you want to call them. He was always into some type of business,” Arma added. “I love him, I’ll never forget him and I hope you guys won’t either. Keep a little part of him somewhere." Arma finished her remarks with a poem before many others took the mic. Darvell introduced himself as “Ron’s P.A. from 2007.” “Ron’s been a big inspiration for me, a big motivator,” Darvell said. “He helped me and my wife with some rough times in our marriage, provided another avenue of cash flow for us, introduced me to all of you. I look at Ron not just as a fellow Capricorn but as a big brother. He was somebody you could depend on to be real, to be true, to sit you down and say, ‘hey, you’re doing wrong.’” SuaveXXX said that if it wasn’t for Ellis that “I wouldn’t be SuaveXXX, I’d just be Suave.” “I met Ron in January 1998. He had a photo studio. Everything he did was legit,” Suave explained. “He was very productive in everything he did. … If it wasn’t for him there are a lot of black entertainers in the adult industry that would not be here. He didn’t go looking for girls, they came to him. He was a beast at what he did.”  Ellis broke into adult work as a photographer for Hustler magazine more than 23 years ago before moving into talent management, content production and eventually digital media services. The founder of Exotic Talent Agency, which he ran for more than 10 years, ignited the careers of countless established models.   He created Teazeworld in 2008, building and managing more than 20 official porn star sites. When Suave started to read a special message on his phone from Roxy Reynolds, he paused to collect himself. Then Misty Stone joined him and volunteered to read Roxy’s words—but she began tearing up, too. “We shared some amazing, unforgettable moments from 2005 to 2010,” Reynolds wrote. “It was absolutely the most fun I’ve had growing up with this industry…He always had good advice. His conversations always ended with some real shit. He helped me to become more independent and encouraged me to learn more beyond the porn industry. … Overall Ron was among the coolest Capricorn men I’ve ever met. … Ron is more of a giver than anything. He always looked out for his girls. His impact on this industry will never be forgotten.” Mr. Marcus said Ellis was “always surrounded by people.” “There weren’t many brothers in this business that were doing the business side of the business and Ron was that dude," Mr. Marcus said. "Ron was that dude that always had a place for people to come to. Half of the people here have been to his house for food, drinks, socializing. He had a mecca, a spot to show up at. Even when he went to Vegas we’d trek to Vegas just to see him. “I’ve gone through some dark periods in the industry and I didn’t know who to turn to. I went to his studio and everybody was hanging out and he was like, ‘you’re always welcome here brother.’ That’s the type of cat he was.” Whether related or not, so many considered Ellis family. Yvonne Mathews said “Ron was like my other son.” “I think I cussed at him as much as I cussed at my own," Mathews said. "So we had a running joke when he saw me. He would say, ‘I didn’t do it!’ Then I would say, ‘What didn’t you do?’ I loved him. I love his mom and dad.” One of Ron’s first cousin’s, Nancy, called Ron “a big teddy bear.” “He just had a way of making you feel loved and important and I appreciated that about him,” Nancy said. “He will forever be in my heart.” Ron’s Aunt Celia said her nephew would “give you the shirt off his back.” Meanwhile, Ron's older brother Tushai told the group, “no matter what Ron did, he always had the best intentions at heart.” “It still hasn’t really sunk in and probably won’t for a very long time,” Tushai added.  Adult star Carmen Hayes said she knew Ellis for 16 years “as a colleague, a friend and a drinking buddy.” “There’s so much I could say, but I have to try to sum it up,” she said, her voice shaking. “I didn’t want to say it on Facebook or on any social media…this man he was there for me at the lowest part of my life when things weren’t going well, when I was so depressed. He was the only one that literally stuck with me and he got me work. … He was my savior.” On a lighter note, Hayes recalled Ellis “threw the best parties and could cook his butt off.” “Baked beans. BBQ that slid off the bone—it was so bomb-dot.com,” Hayes added. She said they watched Justice League “every single day.” “He put us on a pedestal and brought out the best in all of us in some kind of way,” Hayes said. Performer John E. Depth said Ellis would always tell him the same thing when they would see each other. “He’d always say, ‘You know what, I like you man.’ That was our saying,” Depth said. Retired performer Asia tearfully remembered how Ellis was more than her former agent, but that he picked up her when she was down and they shared a special bond. Ken Francis introduced himself as “Mr. Buckwild” because “Ron gave me that name.” “Getting with Ron I was able to become the first black executive producer at Playboy TV and that was because of Ron,” Francis said. “I was able to do a show where I was traveling on tour with Snoop Dogg. That was Ron. He had no ego about it. He said go ahead and run with that. Then after that I got into some trouble—this is where real friendship comes in—and I had to go sit down for a couple of years. … When you have troubles like that people shy away from you. People don’t want to be around, don’t want to talk to you. But not Ron Ellis. Somehow he got ahold of my people, my parents and said, ‘tell him to call me.’ "Here I am sitting there like it’s the end of the world and I finally call him and he’s like, ‘man I’ve been waiting for you to call. You need anything?’ “That type of friendship made me so much better when I was in there. A lot of people say they’re your friends but when times get rough are they really your friends? When you are in this industry, this entertainment world, there’s a lot of people that want to be your friend when you can do something for them. As soon as you can’t do nothing for them, they ain’t your friend no more… I’m going to speak on it. This is real. I just got out last year and the first person to get at me was Ron Ellis." AJ, a photographer who knew Ellis for more than 25 years, recalled “Ron was the first one who hooked me up for a studio shoot.” “I became Ron’s protege for photography. He kind of took me under his wing,” AJ said. “We learned a lot from each other.” Another friend of Ellis, Jackie, said “Ron was very respectful to me. There’s a saying that the power of love overcomes the love of power. Ron was a very powerful man but he was a more loved man.”  As the service wound down, Tamara read from a poem that was printed on the memorial program. "I won't be far away for life goes on. So if you need me, call and I will come," she said. "Though you can't see or touch me, I'll be near with all my love around you soft and clear. And then, when you must come this way alone, I'll greet you with a smile and welcome you home."

 
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