ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A Washington University professor is using Kanye West as case study for genius and mental illness in a public lecture.

jeffrey mccune Crazy vs Genius: Wash U Lecture on Kanye West

Washington University Professor Jeffrey McCune

In the lecture, ‘Name One Genius That Ain’t Crazy: Kanye West and the Politics of Self-Diagnosis,’ professor Jeffrey McCune examines the old adage that geniuses are all a little crazy.

“Ultimately what I’m getting at in this lecture is not just about Kanye, it’s also about the larger notion of crazy and how we utilize it,” he says.

McCune, a professor of culture, race, gender, religion, and sexuality claims that society often perceives people as ‘crazy’ simply for thinking outside of societal norms. He cites two labels of the idea of crazy, one being a mental illness and the other, innovation.

“I want to give people permission to be enraged. Give people permission to be upset, to be angry, to be frustrated. Give people permission to have moments where they break. Give people permission to have moments where they experience depression. I want to give them permission to have those moments without being characterized as being some type of deviant figure in the community. I don’t want to take away that experience and call it crazy. It’s reasonable. And it must be addressed with love, compassion, care, generosity,” he says.

Listen to the full interview below:

Professor McCune’s lecture will be held April 12 at 6 p.m. in the Emerson Auditorium at Washington University in St. Louis and is free and open to the public.

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