Omisade Burney-Scottis creating Black Girls' Guide to Surviving Menopause
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THANK YOU for being the building blocks of the Black Girls' Guide to Surviving Menopause! Your monthly contribution allows me to continue to create original content for the podcast. This level provides basic support.
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I have noticed that as I am getting older, the barriers to experiencing or accessing pleasure, creativity, joy or even rest, begins first inside of my head. It is inside of the unexplored or forgotten territory inside of my mind that old stereotypes, tropes and fears around aging come to life to make me second guess what I can invite into my life post-50 connected to my own health and well-being. Being able to be vulnerable, honest and transparent about these barriers through the gift and power of storytelling has been a powerful tool to disrupt those barriers. I decided to cultivate a liberatory practice to make space for my own voice and the voices of other older Black women and femmes. So I created a podcast called The Black Girls' Guide to Surviving Menopause and soon realized that it is more than that. It is a healing portal, a space, an invitation to walk a path of reclamation and re-imagining together. It's for us by us.
What is the Black Girls Guide to Surviving Menopause?
At the end of 2018, I was soul searching.
2018 was the year my older brother passed away unexpectedly, Hurricane Florence rolled through my hometown of New Bern, NC and I fired from a job for the first time in my professional life. I was experiencing heartache, heartbreak, grief, confusion, anger, and I had so many questions. I needed to talk it out. I talked quite a bit out with my therapist and leaned on my spiritual practice. I also wanted to talk it out with women and femmes who look like me. Black women I trust who have lost love, family, jobs and friends. Women who have lost their own minds in order to move into new mindset and way of thinking about themselves and the world. Women who had shapeshifted and still found home in their own bodies. In December of 2018, I launched the Decolonizing the Crone Phoenix Sabbatical where I could rest and create spaces, virtual and in person, that would play a role in decolonizing society's notions around aging, in particular, for Black Women.
In May of 2019, I launched The Black Girl’s Guide to Surviving Menopause (BGG2SM) podcast and in July 2019, the IG page went live. BGG2SM is a multimedia project that curates spaces for the stories of Black women and femmes to be heard, honored and explored. I am curating spaces and portals through which Black women and femmes over 50 can talk about how our bodies change, what to expect, what intimacy and pleasure looks like, how our identities and relationships are continuing to evolve, and what we are learning/unlearning around aging. I wanted the stories that are being shared through the podcast and the salon-style gathering to be the foundation for a tangible guide to menopause. A guide for Black women around intimacy, love, change, relationships, friendships, creativity and rebirth. A guide the can be used, gifted and passed down as a tool. I am working to create something that is simply doesn’t exist in one place. It especially doesn’t exist because our society does not value the journey of Black bodies. Our Society does not value the journey of women or femme bodies especially when they are over 50. We are the masters of our own experiences. We hold so much knowledge in our bodies based on our personal experiences and shared truths. The podcast, community conversation and the guide will share those truths with Black women across the country.These lived experiences are shared through their first person narratives.
When I started the Black Girls' Guide to Surviving Menopause podcast, I was clear about two things. One, it would be more than just a podcast is for Black women who ARE experiencing menopause, HAVE experienced menopause or WILL experience menopause. It would be a portal for healing. Two, it’s a sacred place for our stories about navigating through change and life. It’s about the joy and the heartbreak. It’s about about diving deep into musings, wishes, and realities related to intimacy, pleasure, spirituality, change, love and body together. This podcast about women of color, particularly Black women, who are negotiating the different stages of menopause along with their ever-evolving identities, relationships, careers, and societal tropes. It elicits answers to the following questions:
● How are you experiencing aging?
● What are you learning?
● What are you unlearning?
● What are you reclaiming?
● What does your joy look like?
● What does intimacy, body positvity and sex-positivity over 50 look like?
The Black Girl’s Guide to Surviving Menopause is a multimedia project seeking to curate and share the experiences, stories, and realities of Black women and femmes over 50. We are partnering with photographers, videographers, documentarians, storytellers, and artists to cultivate a larger narrative of what Decolonizing the Crone looks like in practice. It is a space for sacred intergenerational conversation between Black women and femmes.
To be decolonized is to be untangled from systems of oppression like white supremacy, patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia, etc, and made aware of their impact on our lives and how we live it. The Crone, or “the crowned one”, is a woman of a certain age. Oftentimes, her cycle has ceased to flow. She has gained knowledge, experience, and wisdom. She is either approaching or has navigated her second Saturn Return which, for those folx not familiar with astrological/planetary cycles, is all about her identity, choices, relationships and her initiation into eldership. The crone is often stereotyped as a scary, dried-up white woman who lives alone with her magic and her wisdom. She is not soft or desirable. She’s not romantically partnered though she is respected for her ability to heal others. Her existence on the periphery of society is often transactional, extractive, and non-reciprocal.
We are not interested in perpetuating that trope molded by patriarchy -- BGG2SM is here to reclaim the crone’s magic, her softness, her laughter, her sensuality, her joy, and her perpetual growth. We reclaim every gray hair, every fine line and wrinkle, every soft patch of skin, every stretch mark, and all the creative magic bound to those places she walks on with calloused feet.
We believe that women of color, no matter the age, would be interested in hearing how older Black women are grappling with timeless issues and narratives of themselves. We believe this to be true as people who may have a common journey around bodily autonomy and change in a society that centers whiteness. This is a curated, intergenerational exchange - a space for exploration, mentorship, intimacy and vulnerability around life, identity and change. It’s the excavation of the things that we need to know, but were never told.It’s the guide we wish we all had access to, no matter our age.
How you can support The Black Girls' Guide to Surviving Menopause:
The Black Girl’s Guide to Surviving Menopause podcast lights the path for creating the first accessible resource of its kind. The demographic of the podcast is Black women and femmes who are experiencing menopause or are post-menopausal, who are perimenopausal, who are over 50 and interested in diving into topics such as sex-positivity, intimacy, pleasure, body image, creativity, and spirituality.
Your monthly support will help us meet the following goals:
● Produce new content for Black women over 50 that will be shared via the podcast
● Curate and co-host six (6) intergenerational salon-style engagements that will engage WOC, indigenous folx, Black women and femmes in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and up per season
● Identify a writing team to start work on the to-be published guide (projected release date - 2021)
● Fortify the podcast team in order to support all matters of BGG2SM including its public engagements, production/editing, marketing and promotion, fundraising/development and infrastructure
● Partner with other content creators, reproductive justice advocates, sex-positivity and body-positivity advocates on storytelling projects via the podcast and its public intergenerational engagements
● Co-create collaborative episode quarterly that will be co-hosted with a friend of the podcast covering topics related to perimenopausal Black women, LGTQIA+, holistic, medical, and spiritual practices related to menopause, and younger women/femmes who experience “medical menopause” and its impact on their lives
● Intergenerational focus groups in the late spring/early fall of 2020 around the content of the guide
● First draft of the BGG2SM interactive guide to be shared with a peer editing-team
**Take a look at the patreon levels for more detailed information about how your support with help.
Thank you for taking the time to read this description and thank you in advance for your support!