View Original Notice ? Stagecoach 2022: Compton Cowboys give a new meaning to ‘urban cowboy’ at country festival
Horses can save kids from the streets.
That’s the message and the mission of Compton Cowboys, an equestrian group 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 the Yee Haw tent at Stagecoach. Although Stagecoach takes place at the Empire Polo Club, horses aren’t usually part of the show.
“They reimagined our Compton ranch space on the festival grounds,” said the group’s co-founder Randy Savvy. “It’s basically our hangout spot for the weekend.”
Festivalgoers can visit seven horses in their pen, meet Savvy and seven other riders, or buy drinks or merchandise at their booths.
The Compton Cowboys call themselves “straight outta Richland Farms,” a rural pocket of Compton where they have a ranch.
The organization was launched in 1988 by Savvy’s aunt, Mayisha Akbar, as 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 so the kids get excited,” he said.
That message was seen by the entire world on March 27.
“Be Alive,” Beyonce’s opening song for the Academy Awards broadcast, began with the image of a single horse and rider flanked by a group of young people walking down a street in Compton. Those kids were part of Compton Jr. Equestrians, also co-founded by Savvy, whose birth name is Randall Hook .
Compton Cowboys has been getting attention, and not just from the Oscars. It was in the news in 2020 when Cowboys rode in a protest march through Compton, following the murder of George Floyd. It is the subject of a book by journalist and radio personality Walter Thompson-Hernández. It is partnering with businesses such as the Andis Company, which makes grooming products for people and animals.
And it got the attention of Goldenvoice, which produces Stagecoach and the inaugural Palomino Festival, July 9 in Pasadena, which will also feature the Compton Cowboys.
“Goldenvoice reached out and said we love what you’re doing,” Savvy said. “It’s always been a dream to play music here.”
Savvy is also a musician and performs onstage in the Yee Haw tent. His first single, “Colorblind,” was mixed by Dr. Dre.
“I classify my music as street country, which to me is a combination of the hip-hop lifestyle and culture that 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 his aunt’s Jr. Posse.
“I’ve been riding my whole life. I’m 32 years old now, so I’m 32 years into it.”
Some of the horses at Stagecoach have the words “Compton Cowboys” or symbols like tattoos shaved into their hair, courtesy of Andis.
Visiting the area on Friday, festivalgoers stood 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 takes pride in the horses. He said one of his favorites is a Tennessee walker named Goldie Loc.
“I like to call him my Rolls Royce. All the rappers, when they get some money they go out and buy an expensive exotic car. Everybody has those cars, but it’s not every day you’re going to see someone with an incredible golden stallion.”