After taking over his aunt's working ranch, Compton Cowboy Randy Savvy developed an equestrian program to serve inner-city youth at risk for dropping out of school, incarceration and poverty.
In response to the violence and trauma around him, Savvy also makes music, and his single, "Colorblind," served as an essential anthem during last summer's protests. In an interview for "LA Times Today," Savvy joined host Lisa McRee to share his story.
The Compton Cowboys are a group of childhood friends who use horseback riding and equestrian culture to influence inner-city youth.
"We grew up riding together in a program that my aunt started called the Compton Junior Posse in the '80s," Savvy said. "It is an organization that used horses to keep kids out of the street. We are all products of that program, so now we are paving it forward to the next generation. We are involved hands-on and are trying to show the kids a different way, and we're trying to do something good for our city."
The coronavirus pandemic harmed the ranch, but Savvy said he reached out to the community for help.
"The community is everything for us. hey are the reason we keep going when things got hard. All we did was reach out publicly through a post, and the city of Compton and the greater community helped out with funding. We even ended up hearing from Dr. Dre, who reached out and donated a year's worth of funding to feed our horses. That was incredible and helped us get through it. Thanks to him and everyone else that lend a hand, it really meant everything to keep our ranch running and going, and we are still here and still in the fight."
Dr. Dre also worked on a song with Savvy, titled "Colorblind." The song focuses on how different colors contribute to the trauma faced in communities of color.
"It was a song I had in mind that I originally wrote to address gang violence in our community," said Savvy. "But then, when police killed George Floyd, it got back into my mind, and I realized this serves as a bigger message, so I reached out to Dre, and he put his musical touch into it. He elevated into what it was, and now when you listen to it, it gives you goosebumps. The song addresses all the different traumas we experience in the inner city related to the colors we see. I am thinking about the red and blue lights of the police cars that we see, or bloods and crips flags. We have seen a lot of yellow tape from murder scenes, white chalk from the ground; Black faces on the asphalt, so where we come from, all these colors haunt me traumatize me over my life. So, that is what the song addresses. It is about getting out of this toxic cycle of crime and violence we experience and try to make a better way for ourselves as a people."
Last year, author and journalist Walter Thompson-Hernandez released the book Compton Cowboys, and now it is being made into a film. Savvy said this is an excellent way to tell Black stories.
"We are developing a full-length feature film. It is going to be about the Compton Cowboys, and it is inspired by true events. It will have actors, writers, and all of that. We are almost done with the script now. I think there is an appetite for more diverse faces on screen, books, and different things. People want to hear new and fresh stuff, and the kids need to see that diversity in the entertainment industry."
Regarding the Compton Cowboys, the ranch remains closed to the public, but Savvy said he is hopeful that the program will be up and running soon.
"We are still in the trenches fighting a good fight and trying to keep the ranch open. But for now, our horses are here; they are healthy, they are fed, and everything is taken care of. We are keeping our fingers crossed, but hopefully, as COVID starts to ease up, we can start getting back to the program and do stuff with our kids, which we care about the most. We want the ranch to be a space for kids to come and escape, and be around nature and horses, and get that much-needed therapy that they need."