Elmore, Ronn 1957–
Ronn Elmore 1957–
Therapist, minister, author
Ronn Elmore was born into a family that has a long history of religious service. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all ministers. Although Elmore pursued other career paths such as acting, dancing, and modeling, he eventually became a minister as well.
Elmore was born on April 27, 1957 in Louisville, Kentucky. At the age of 16, he left home for New York City to pursue a fine arts career. He studied classical dance at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and performed at the famous Moulin Rouge in Paris, France. Elmore eventually accepted acting and dancing jobs throughout Europe and also worked as a model to earn additional income. He also landed a role in the international traveling show Bubbling Brown Sugar starring Cab Calloway.
Weary of travelling, Elmore left Europe and decided to settle in Los Angeles. Although he still had a passionate love for theatre, he realized that he needed to earn a college degree. Elmore envisioned working as an entertainment industry publicist, a career which would allow him to maintain his connections with the theater world without having to endure the stress of constant travel. He attended Antioch University and graduated in May of 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and journalism. While in the process of searching for a job, Elmore decided to volunteer at his local church. He found the experience so fulfilling that he decided to devote his life to ministry. He enrolled at Fuller Seminary in Los Angeles and focused his studies in the area of psychology and family counseling. When he graduated in May of 1989, Elmore convinced his church to let him develop a counseling ministry. It became the first church in the inner-city of Los Angeles to have such a program.
In addition to working with his church, Elmore decided to establish a private practice as a psychotherapist. In May of 1989, he founded the Relationship Center and Relationship Enrichment Programs, which were dedicated to studying the dynamics of interpersonal relationships among African Americans. Initially, over 80 percent of Elmore’s clients were African American women.
At a Glance…
Born Ronn Elmore on April 27, 1957 in Louisville, KY. Married to Aladrian Elmore, singer-songwriter; children: Corinn, Christina, Cory. Education: Antioch University, B.A., public relations and journalism, 1981; Fuller Theological Seminary, M.A., theology and marriage and family counseling, 1989; Ryokan College, Doctorate, clinical psychology, 1992.
Career: Actor, dancer, model; executive assistant to evangelist Rev. E.V. Hill; ordained to Gospel Ministry, 1986; assistant pastor/director of counseling ministries, Faithful Central Church, 1984-94; director, The Relationship Clinic; founder and director, Relationship Enrichment Programs, 1989-; therapist, minister, and author.
Awards: Chrysalis Award, Minority Aids Project, 1988.
Memberships: Executive Board, One Church, One Child; charter member, American Association of Christian Counselors.
Addresses: 333 West Florence Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90301.
These women experienced many of the same problems in their relationships with men and looked to Elmore for possible solutions.
To address their concerns, Elmore decided to hold a seminar entitled “How to Love a Black Man.” Although he anticipated a total of only 25 women for his first session, nearly 200 women attended. The seminar was phenomenally successful and Elmore decided to offer his seminar throughout the United States. Mixing sage advice with wit and humor, Elmore’s seminar taught the importance of having self-respect while seeking respect from others. In the early 1990s, Elmore hosted his own radio talk show about relationships on KACE Radio in Los Angeles. Although the show was cancelled in 1992, he still appears frequently on both network and cable television talk shows.
Elmore, who has become known as “The Relationship Doctor,” has emerged as one of America’s most popular media experts on love, marriage, and family. His seminars and talk show discussions cover a wide range of relationship issues, from forgiveness to shared prayer, and his solutions are often rooted in Christian teachings. “Forgiveness,” he once counseled in B.E. T. Weekend, “is a powerful gift of sacrificial, unconditional love, freely offered to someone who is guilty as sin. Though we take credit for a lot of impressive inventions, forgiveness is not one of them. It’s something that came straight from God. If it’s His invention, He alone dictates how much of it you give-and for how long.” His insightful guidance has also been featured in publications such as Ebony, Essence, Jet, Ebony Man, Newsweek, USA Today, Family Digest, Excellence, Gospel Today, and L. A. Focus on the Word.
In February of 1996, Warner Books published Elmore’s first book How to Love a Black Man. The book, based on Elmore’s teachings, guides women beyond the myths and popular images of African American men and offers practical solutions for providing the love and attention that African American men need. Also, the book offers ways for women to get their own emotional needs met within a relationship and how to create a relationship that is fulfilling for both partners.
Following the phenomenal success of How to Love a Black Man, Warner Books released Elmore’s companion text, How to Love a Black Woman, in August of 1998. How to Love a Black Woman was hailed as the first book written by an African American man that was designed to help African American men to better understand and love the women in their lives. Specifically, Elmore shows African American men how to gain greater satisfaction in their relationships through balanced and deliberate commitment, commitment demonstrated both through word and deed.
Elmore remains deeply devoted to his Christian faith and it is the guiding force behind his work. As he explained to Lise Funderburg of Essence, “As a born-again Christian who follows the teachings of Scripture and Jesus Christ as a revelation of God, I’m very committed to helping couples understand that our spirituality is at its best when it is rooted in a person other than ourselves, a person whom I call Jesus Christ, the one who has shown us what love and reconciliation and forgiveness and sacrifice look like.”
In addition to his roles as a therapist, writer, and lecturer, Elmore has served as a minister in the inner-city of Los Angeles for nearly two decades. For four years, he worked as an executive assistant to the renowned pastor and television evangelist, Rev. E.V. Hill. Elmore also served as the assistant pastor and director of counseling ministries at the Faithful Central Church from 1984 to 1994.
Elmore has used his boundless energy and enthusiasm to help those throughout the Los Angeles area who are less fortunate. He founded both the Kingdom Shelter, an innovative transitional housing program for homeless men, and The Encouragers, a highly-effective community, lay-counseling service. Elmore is also responsible for the creation of Project: MISTER, an award-winning program which places responsible Christian men in public school classrooms as learning partners and mentors for students who lack strong male role models. He planned to develop Manhood Academy, a Christ-centered prep school for urban boys, and continue his career as a writer and therapist.
How to Love a Black Man, Warner Books, 1996.
How to Love a Black Woman, Warner Books, 1998.
B.E.T.Weekend, June 1998.
Essence, March 1997, pp. 62-65.
Gospel Today, September/October 1998; November/December 1998.
Jet, March 9, 1998, pp. 12-15.
Additional information for this profile was obtained from a Biography Press Release of Ronn Elmore and from Warner Books press releases.
—Lisa S. Weitzman