Baba Fana: A Distinguished Ancestor of 222.9 The Mothership

Everybody Say Easy….

Pamoja Tutashinda

Orun opened the way and Edward Vincent, better known as Baba Runyararo Fana came to Aiye (earth) on Friday, December 26, 1947. The Sun was in the first decan of Capricorn while the moon was full in Gemini. He was an embodiment of where cardinal earth meets mutable wind. In the Afrikan way of the stars, it was the season of The Harvest in the Granary. The day vibrated on a 5, the a number sacred to exploration of self. His name given at birth, “Edward,” is an English one meaning wealth and protection. “Vincent,” and English and French name with a twist of Latin means “to conquer.” That name would later change to Baba Runyararo Fana. As many of us know, Baba is a Yoruba term for “father,” while is a South African name Runyararo meaning freedom lover. A free spirit. A versatile, expressive being full of peace while striving to live with honor. Fana is a name simply meaning “to bring the light”. That can be a hard thing to do when the world can be a dark place. However, Fana was a force that came to the world cosmically equipped to fulfill his divine purpose, ever smiling through it all and keeping the beat going.

He gave the Houston Jazz scene, Greater Third ward community events, many poets performances, and yoga sessions a pulse. That’s just to name a few. Who really knows how many events, how many places in the world, how many hearts have beat in sync with his drum? Every community happening I attended, he was there. From Project Row Houses to S.H.A.P.E. Center. From the Shrine of the Black Madonna to S.E.H.A.H., and everywhere else in between. He always had a smile, equally giving love to those who were and were not open to receive it. There was always a smile no matter what might have been going on behind it. He embodied community fatherhood.

Personally, I connected with Baba Fana through music, as many others have. I was honored to have shared a few musical experiences with him, as well as wise conversations. I’m sure there are many others who have these profound memories of his wisdom, as he shared himself that freely. He jokingly told me once that I reminded him of the song “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down,” around the same time he presented me with a bracelet that he brought me back from one of his many trips to Ghana. It is a memory that will forever give my heart laughter.

The last time I saw him was Monday, August 9th, 2021 at Sis. Aisha Said’s yoga class. It was a small class that grew. I like to think they we were called by the drum. No matter who was or wasn’t present gave his best to an audience…whether it was one, a filled space, or no one. He shared with me that his prayers and his love for the people were his constant meditation while playing.

Baba Fana returned to the ancestor realm on Saturday, August 21, 2021. Third Saturday, 21st day…lots of Esu energy around. It was Leo/Aries season, and the moon was full again in an air sign only this time Aquarius. The day vibrated on a 16/7, the number of divine completion. In the Afrikan way of the stars, it was the season of The Kola Nut. You know, it isn’t fair to make a person out to be a perfect Saint because they’ve newly joined the ancestors , as it isn’t fair to the people who may have been hurt in their process of growth. However, it also isn’t fair to try to define a man’s entire legacy by his imbalances, especially when they don’t measure up to the magnitude of his positive legacy. Imbalances are things that make us human. They are lessons that lead to growth. I really appreciated his wisdom as an elder, but his humility, his childlike willingness to learn and grow was the quality of him that I found most admirable. To show growth, unconditional love, yet still show up and be of service to the community is a light bright enough to outshine mistakes. None of us leave here without making them. Mistakes, I mean.

Truthfully honoring someone’s legacy is thanking the person for the things they did right and taking lessons from the things they did wrong. It teaches what to do and what not to do, resulting in wisdom gained from both sides of a full and well lived life. This understanding allows both the Spirit of the transitioned and the ones left behind to have the peace we all need to continue journeys in ire (blessings)!

I imagine his passing has a profound impact on our community because one of Baba Fana’s voices…was his drum. This moment seems filled with both a profound absence and omnipresence at the same time. The rhythms of our hearts may be slightly altered…but we can find comfort in knowing that his rhythm will never be silenced…only heard in our spirits. As drums beat, so do all of our hearts…and the heart is the very first drum. Now the Houston Community all who knew and loved Baba Fana must adjust the new rhythm, inspired by his cadence of love, wisdom, and service. That cadence is his legacy, and it is ours to continue…so let’s stay in the pocket, village. As the Whispers sang in their part in their hit song, The Beat Goes On…just like our love…everlasting.

222.9 The Mothership Honors Baba Fana as a distinguished ancestor. Ase.

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