A North Philly horseback riding club received a surge of donations after the Netflix film release based loosely on their organization, Blavity reports.
Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club (FSURC) was founded by Ellis Ferrell in 2004 to “promote horse riding as an activity for inner-city Black youth,” according to a statement on their GoFundMe page. Since its inception, Ferrell has covered most of the cost of keeping the organization up and running out of his own pocket, struggling to consistently raise funds, despite global notoriety from artists and museums.
“I’m known worldwide. I’ve had them from everywhere – Australia, Germany, France, the U.K., Korea, Japan. All of them have been here and did videos of me, and they’ve gone back to their countries and won awards. I never got one dime,” Ferrell told reporters.
Now another film, Netflix’s Concrete Cowboys, has highlighted the organization, but Ferrell is starting to see the fruits of his labor this time. Since its release, FSURC’s GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $150,000, compared with the nearly $40,000 it took them nine months to raise before the film’s release. The movie stars Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things) and is based on the fictional novel “Ghetto Cowboy” by Greg Neri but highlights FSURC members.
The film mirrors many of FSURC’s struggles, centered on a rebellious team who goes to live with his estranged father and finds community in horseback riding, shining a light on issues of gentrification, systemic racism, and self-love. Ferrell has faced several obstacles in his quest to build his legacy. The city seized its stables under eminent domain, followed by attacks from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
More recently, the club is facing displacement and looking for a more permanent home after the city-designated greenspace, which the horses use for grazing and riding lessons, was sold to housing developers looking to create a new senior residential facility. Ferrell plans to use funds from the campaign to care for the horses, stables, finance a new documentary based solely on FSURC’s journey, and continue to provide an opportunity for inner-city Black youth.
To support Ferrell and FSURC on their journey, donate to their GoFundMe here.