The pop star, best known for his song Hello, said he didn't think West's use of the n-word was acceptable.
West's song All Day, which he performed at the BRITs on Wednesday night, relied heavily on the racial slur.
"Am I fan of the n-word? Not coming from the 1960s and 70s, whereas the new world has embraced it.
"I don’t think it’s OK for a black man to use the N-word. I don’t like it – and I am a black man. I don’t think it should be said and become normal."
West has long used the term in his music. The biggest hit from Watch The Throne, his 2011 collaborative album with Jay Z, is even called N****s In Paris.
"Kanye is giving us the generation shock value. How he carries on for the next 10 years we will see," Richie argued. "The music business is more attention driven, but you have to let it pass."
Although he doesn't agree with West's inflammatory language, Richie said that there were bigger global issues for people to worry about. "Don’t even focus on it," he said. "Because what we have going on in the world is so over the top. I mean, who are we fighting? There is more hunger and famine in the world today than there was when we did We Are The World."
Richie was one of a number of high-profile people who recorded the 1985 charity single, along with Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan and Cyndi Lauper.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies