Riding Through Compton

Melodie McDaniel
McDaniel, Melodie, 2018
Hardcover 96 pages
Publisher: Minor Matters Books
ISBN: 978-1-7321241-2-7
Dimensions: 10 x 12 inches

With essays by Compton Jr Posse founder Mayisha Akbar, Randy Savvy of the Compton Cowboys, Youth in Focus founder Walter Bodle, and poem excerpt by Los Angeles Poet Laureate Robin Coste Lewis


According to the US Census Bureau, one-third of the population of Compton, California are under the age of 18—and one-fourth of its population live at or below the poverty line. Despite the latter statistic, Compton has been home to significant athletes, musicians, scientists, writers, and pioneering public officials. Over decades, young people have found a way to overcome the socioeconomic odds against them in this city. 

From 1988-2018, the streets of Compton were the stomping grounds of a youth riding and equestrian program under the leadership of Mayisha Akbar. Designed to provide the kids of Compton with meaningful year-round after-school activities, members not only learn to ride, but to care for their horses—developing responsibility, discipline, and self-esteem. That program is now continuing under the leadership of the very members for whom it was initiated. 

Riding Through Compton pairs three years of documentary photographs and formal portraits by Melodie McDaniel with interviews by Amelia Fleetwood conducted with participants of the Compton Jr Posse riding program.

Essays by CJP founder Mayisha Akbar and alum and the member-manager of the Compton Cowboys, Randy Savvy, speaks to the history and innovative future of the programs. Poet Laureate of Los Angeles Robin Coste Lewis contributes an excerpt from her poem "Frame;" afterword by Walter Bodle places the photographs and the importance of the CJP program in historical context. 

Melodie McDaniel (b. Omaha, NE, 1967; resides in Los Angeles) is an American still photographer and director whose work challenges prevailing motifs of American identity, with a deep investment in the exploration of sub- and countercultures. She graduated in 1991 with a BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. McDaniel has created over 200 advertising campaigns to date for companies that include Nike, Target, Yahoo, Sony, Disney, Levi’s, Chrysler and Delta. Her work has been published in magazines such as VogueDazedInterviewGQ and Spin; photographs from this series are being featured in the 2018 Month of Photography Los Angeles (MOPLA).  This is her first monograph.

Contributing editor for Santa Barbara Magazine and LALA Magazine, writer Amelia Fleetwood Simpson has also been published in Architectural DigestAt LargeDominoC MagazineHuffington Post, and Du Jour, among others. 

Riding Through Compton: Melodie McDaniel
$ 50.00