Women in Music 2016

Eddie Levert Talks Kanye West: He's 'A Genius'

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Kanye West seen at LAX airport after arriving on a flight from Paris, France on March 4, 2016 in Los Angeles.

Say what you will about Kanye West’s recent Twitter ramblings. Yeezus has at least one big fan who has the respect of generations of music lovers.

“They talk about him really bad, they say he’s crazy and he says off-the-wall stuff, but I think Kanye West is a genius,” Eddie Levert, lead vocalist of the O’Jays, told Billboard at the BET Honors on Saturday (March 5) night in Washington, DC.

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Levert was at the event to pay tribute to honoree Patti LaBelle with a rendition of her song “Somebody Loves You Baby.”

“He’s a genius, he’s a great man and he’s trying to find his way to where he needs to be,” Levert said. And all the seemingly ego-infused rants? “He’s young. That’s what you do when you’re young. You make mistakes. We have to grow up and get better at it. I love Kanye West.”

Levert also chimed in on the buzz around the Oscars’ lack of diversity, noting, “The Oscars is what it is. That’s what it’s always been. It hasn’t changed, and if you’re expecting it to change then I’m sorry for you. If you want to have more awards that are going to honor more black people, then we need to do more BET Honors. Not like Stacey Dash talking about there should be no Black History Month.”