For your pre-weekend reading, here’s the lightning-smart Daphne Brooks on Amy Winehouse and how she engages in racial drag (when she’s able to stand up long enough to perform, anyway): “Winehouse has been lauded for essentially throwing Holiday along with Foster Brooks, Louis Armstrong, Wesley Willis, Megan Mullally’s Karen on Will and Grace, Moms Mabley and Courtney Love into a blender and pressing pulse. And her ability to bring that tricked-out mix of characters to life has made for some eyebrow-raising, highly orchestrated stage shows. Curious to many is Winehouse’s use of black male backup dancers and singers, brothers with skinny ties, black mod suits and hats who hustle to choreographed moves, conjuring up images of a bygone era of black male ‘coolness’: Belafonte and Poitier, Nkrumah and Lumumba. Putting this ‘coolness’ in the service of backing up a ‘ruint’ white retro femme figure seems laughable in one sense and egregiously patronizing in another. In either case this sight-gag gimmick is perhaps the key to the obsessions of Back to Black.” Much, much more at the link. [The Nation via tylercoates]