Picture by Erin K. Robinson
When Mia Birdsong was around 8 or 9, she’d prance around in cowboy boots and a spiky Tina Turner-style wig.
As a tween, she coveted fake manes in a wig store for their sleekness and eminent manageability, compared with the vigorous multitexture hair she’d inherited from her Black father and white mother.
“You know the story: Black kid with white mom who doesn’t know how to do her hair,” said Ms. Birdsong, an author in Oakland, Calif. “I would have these big bangs I’d do with a curling brush. Basically, the front and sides would be straight. And the back wouldn’t.”
Wigs give the illusion of all-over-the-head uniformity, she thought. “It was all about, like, long flowing hair, too,” she said. “I was super into wigs that gave me white women’s straight hair.”