Horses can save street children.
That’s the message and mission of Compton Cowboys, an equestrian band appearing at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio this weekend.
Their culture is a mix of hip-hop and country, and the Compton Cowboys brought it to Stagecoach’s Yee Haw tent. Although Stagecoach takes place at the Empire Polo Club, horses are not usually part of the show.
“They reimagined our Compton ranch space on the festival grounds,” said band co-founder Randy Savvy. “It’s basically our meeting place for the weekend.”
Festival-goers can visit seven horses in their paddock, meet Savvy and seven other riders, or purchase drinks or merchandise at their booths.
The Compton Cowboys call themselves “straight out of Richland Farms,” a rural pocket of Compton where they have a ranch.
The organization was started in 1988 by Savvy’s aunt, Mayisha Akbar, as the Compton Jr. Posse, a youth equestrian program.
Savvy, 32, took over the organization and rebranded it after Akbar retired in 2017.
“It’s important to me to do something that creates a lot of hype and noise to get kids excited,” he said.
This message was seen by the whole world on March 27th.
“Be Alive,” Beyonce’s opening song for the Oscars broadcast, began with an image of a single horse and rider flanked by a group of young people marching down a street in Compton. These children were part of Compton Jr. Equestrians, also co-founded by Savvy, whose birth name is Randall Hook.
Compton Cowboys grabbed attention, and not just Oscars. It was in the news in 2020 when the Cowboys took part in a protest march through Compton, following the murder of George Floyd. It’s the subject of a book by journalist and radio personality Walter Thompson-Hernández. It partners with companies such as the Andis Company, which makes grooming products for people and animals.
And it caught the eye of Goldenvoice, which produces Stagecoach and the first Palomino Festival, July 9 in Pasadena, which will also feature the Compton Cowboys.
“Goldenvoice reached out and said we love what you do,” Savvy said. “It has always been a dream to play music here.
Savvy is also a musician and performs live in the Yee Haw tent. Its first single, “Colorblind”, was mixed by Dr. Dre.
“I categorize my music as street country, which for me is a combination of the hip-hop lifestyle and the culture I was born and raised in here in Compton and also between being a cowboy in Compton , there was a lot of country influence.”
Savvy grew up in her aunt’s Jr. Posse.
“I’ve driven all my life. I’m 32 now, so I’m 32 in it.
Some of Stagecoach’s horses have the words “Compton Cowboys” or symbols like shaved tattoos in their hair, courtesy of Andis.
Visiting the area on Friday, festival-goers came face-to-face with the horses as they roamed the fence and tried to hold their attention long enough for cellphone photos or selfies.
Savvy is proud of his horses. He said one of his favorites is a walker from Tennessee named Goldie Loc.
“I like to call it my Rolls Royce. All rappers, when they make money, they go out and buy an expensive exotic car. Everybody has those cars, but it’s not everyday that you see someone with an amazing gold standard.