Meet Omisade Burney-Scott, creator of The Black Lady’s Information to Surviving Menopause — That’s Not My Age

Photograph: Denise Allen


Omisade Burney-Scott (Oh-me-SHAH-day) is a seventh era, Black southern feminist, storyteller, social justice advocate and power to be reckoned with. Omisade has spent the final 25 years advocating for marginalised individuals in her group. She can be the creator of The Black Girls’ Guide to Surviving Menopause (BGG2SM), a multimedia challenge targeted on normalising menopause and ageing by centering on the tales of Black ladies, women-identified and gender expansive individuals.

‘Black ladies are negotiating the completely different phases of menopause together with their ever evolving identifies, relationships, careers, duties and societal tropes,’ says Omisade. BGG2SM is curated to be inclusive and open. This enables individuals a secure house to discover and be weak about points round menopause, whereas feeling included and listened to. ‘It’s the issues that you should know, however have been by no means instructed… the information we want all of us had entry to, regardless of our age.’

Whereas menopause is being mentioned greater than ever earlier than, there may be nonetheless a lot work to be finished to make the narrative extra culturally various and supply the identical entry to assist and assets for everybody. In response to the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (US), Black ladies attain menopause 8.5 months sooner than their white counterparts and expertise extra aggressive signs: sizzling flashes, despair and sleep disturbances.

Right here Omisade shares her recommendation on getting assist for menopausal signs and what she has learnt from speaking to others about their experiences:


Please are you able to briefly describe your profession? 

I’m a North Carolinian (born in New Bern) and I’ve labored as an organiser, coach, advocate for non-profits targeted on racial justice, financial justice, voting rights, reproductive justice and as a programme officer. Along with curating the Black Lady’s Information to Surviving Menopause, I seek the advice of by supporting social justice and philanthropic organisations round organisational growth and therapeutic justice.


You’ve stated that if you have been 51, you obtained group assist to take a 12 months off and begin The Black Lady’s Information – may you clarify how that labored? How did the group assist you?

In July of 2018, I misplaced my brother, Fred unexpectedly. That September, Hurricane Florence wreaked havoc on North Carolina, with the attention of the storm centering over my hometown in a ‘once-in-500-hundred-years flood.’ My eldest sister, Mary Anne, was displaced by the storm. I took day without work from my work to help with restoration efforts. Once I returned to work that October, I used to be fired. I don’t consider it as being terminated now, however as being liberated so I may do the work I’m doing.

On the finish of 2018, with assist from buddies, individuals from my social justice group, and my sons, I made a decision to take a sabbatical to regroup. My eldest son Che, helped me launch a Patreon account to ask for monetary assist from my group. I did and the response was overwhelming. The Black Lady’s Information to Surviving Menopause was born the next 12 months.


Photograph through Instagram


Are you able to inform us about your individual menopause journey?

My sizzling flashes began in 2012. I used to be 45. They began to coincide with anxiousness within the type of panic assaults that I didn’t know have been panic assaults. They included coronary heart palpitations and sweaty shaky fingers. And I used to be busy: going by a divorce. My eldest baby was at Howard College in Washington, DC. I used to be the Coach Director for a statewide voting rights group in NC combating new voter suppression legal guidelines in our state and I had a bit one in daycare! So, I sought assist from my Major Care Doctor who has been our household physician for 18 years.

We at all times had a really optimistic rapport. It was he who recognized and prescribed me treatment for the anxiousness, and I additionally started remedy. Finally, the recent flashes eased as did the anxiousness. Then, I used to be recognized with scientific despair in 2016 once I was 49. I used to be very clear with my greatest girlfriends, siblings, kids, and religious group about my analysis, and what I used to be navigating, as a result of I noticed them as important to my therapeutic.

I don’t disassociate my journey with despair or my expertise with anxiousness from my menopausal journey. I see all of them as my physique giving me indicators about the kind of care I wanted to be more healthy.


There’s lots of discuss within the media (and parliament within the UK) about menopause, proper now, however there’s a large discrepancy. Not all ladies get the care they want – notably Black, Asian and minority ethnic ladies, and girls on low incomes – how can we make this an inclusive dialog?

Particular person menopause experiences are impacted by many issues, together with: misogyny, racism, the patriarchy… We don’t like to speak about and/or deal with systemic oppression on a person or institutional stage. It usually makes individuals really feel uncomfortable to speak candidly about methods that will have oppressed or privileged them.  If you begin to unpack ‘why’ Black and Latino ladies may expertise extra intense or longer signs due to racism, sexism, classism, and so on. you’re pushing up towards greater than bias or prejudice. You’re pushing up towards societal mindsets which can be strengthened by institutionalised methods and insurance policies which have the ability to affect – typically lethally – the rights and liberties of a particular group of individuals.

If you take a extra intersectional method to menopause analysis, care and advocacy, these truisms are on the core of the story – knowledge alone can’t present the entire image.


What’s the greatest recommendation you would give to individuals going by the menopause?

The dialog in regards to the adjustments that occur to our our bodies over time, is hard and dynamic. We stay in a society that’s youth-obsessed and even in open conversations round menopause, the voices or tales highlighted are sometimes of heterosexual, white ladies.

The affect of racism, patriarchy, and misogyny on Black ladies – and our understanding and possession of our our bodies – is profound. It has formed the way in which many people see ourselves, perceive our inherent worth, and it has usually muted our voices.

As a reproductive justice advocate – and with the Black Lady’s Information to Surviving Menopause – I encourage Black, Indigenous, and all individuals of color (POC); LGBTQ+ and gender-expansive individuals, to belief and know they’ve a proper to entry high quality care from docs who see them of their fullest personhood – with respect for all their intersectional identities. I need them to know that it shouldn’t be a luxurious to have a physician who understands that well being disparities exist due to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and different types of systemic oppression. It ought to be available and reasonably priced. I need them to know that they’ve company and selections round their care.

If you’re not happy or really feel disrespected, please don’t keep. The overwhelming majority of individuals I do know find yourself with a ‘trusted’ doctor that treats you with respect and dignity, through phrase of mouth. In recent times, there was an uptick in organisations that present listings for docs who’ve expressed dedication to offering high quality care. Listed below are some assets (worldwide and US-based):


Black OB/GYN Project

Black Doctor 24/7

Therapy for Black Girls

Queer Menopause

Planned Parenthood

Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA)

One Medical

Gen-M (UK)

One other essential useful resource engaged in nationwide coverage Black Reproductive Justice advocacy work (menopause is certainly a part of RJ). In 2021, they put collectively a Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda. Black Lady’s Information to Surviving Menopause and 40 different Black-led reproductive justice organisations, consulted.


And what have you ever realized from the conversations you’ve had with ladies in your podcast?

We have a tendency to seek out security and solace within the individuals who we belief probably the most, in addition to these people who appear to be us or have comparable shared lived experiences. That is essential and complex. If the knowledge being shared between buddies is rooted in the identical methods that oppress us, we’re then shamed for who we’re, how we’re formed and the experiences we’ve. ‘We-don’t-talk-about-menopause’ turns into a taboo for Black ladies, pushing them to navigate this expertise alone.

I’m seeing a rising tide of Black ladies pushing again towards stereotypes and tropes because it pertains to menopause and ageing. Folks need to discuss it, overtly with out disgrace. In our conversations, I need to come from a spot of understanding these methods; curiosity, openness, therapeutic, non-judgement and knowledge, so that rather more is feasible for the person navigating their very own journey.


Omisade Burney-Scott. Photograph: Instagram


And at last, I like your type – please inform me in regards to the ‘vibe you’ve created.’

I might say my type is a mirrored image of my tradition and persona. I get pleasure from garments, colors, and equipment which can be an eclectic mixture of brights, Boho stylish, daring and funky patterns and jewelry combined with timeless traditional items. My type can be a mirrored image of the understanding that the purpose is to deal with your physique and this life prefer it’s the one one you’ve gotten and adore it one of the simplest ways you may.


The Black Girls’ Guide to Surviving Menopause. Omisade Burney-Scott is on Instagram HERE.