Wes O’Dell of ‘Below Deck’ says it was ‘hurtful’ being told he ‘wasn’t Black enough’ 

Season 9 of the popular reality series has revolved around a white castmember using the N-word, leading to tensions between the castmates

Loading the player...

Fresh off the reunion for the latest season of Below Deck, reality star Wes O’Dell opened up about his experience with castmate Rayna Lindsey after she said he “wasn’t Black enough,” following the N-word scandal on the show.

As theGrio previously reported, this season of Below Deck has been a doozy. Earlier in the season, Heather Chase, a white woman, used the N-word on the series in front of Rayna Lindsey, a Black castmate.

Below Deck Heather Chase Rayna Lindsey thegrio.com
Below Deck’s Heather Chase has apologized for using a racial slur while speaking with Rayna Lindsey (Credit: Bravo)

In the episode, Lindsey used the word which was then repeated back to her by Chase. The moment, naturally, caused plenty of uproar online, with many tweeting their disappointment in Chase and hurt for Lindsey.

Things only escalated in the season finale, when Chase attempted to apologize. O’Dell, who is biracial, tried to resolve things, but it only led to new tensions between him and Lindsey.

Photo Credit via Instagram: @sailingwes

Lindsey told O’Dell he wasn’t Black enough to fully understand the situation and where she was coming from. O’Dell responded, saying, “Calling me not Black is painful. You’re going to throw me away, someone who has wanted to help you? Yeah, I’m deeply hurt about that.”

He recently appeared on the Gangplank Report podcast to share where his head is at now. “Going through all of it, it was hurtful,” he said. “I didn’t expect it. I didn’t see that coming. So I was just blindsided.”

He explained his take on Chase’s use of the N-word and the importance of intent.

“The reason I always stuck with context is when you have something coming in a malicious act or something out of a place of hate. There’s a difference between being ‘litty titty’ [drunk] and making a mistake – and a mistake that should never happen.

But in [Heather’s] defense, she messed up and she messed up on live TV, which is stupid…And when she did admit it, I’m still at the observation stage. It’s like what more can there be done?”

O’Dell continued, “I know the difference between when somebody is coming from a place of hate. I don’t accept it. I don’t agree with it. And it’s not a thing anybody should do. But when it’s said in lyrics and somebody is hammered drunk doing this?

No, I don’t respect the person. We’re going to hang out with them and do, like – ‘no, of course not.’ But I will tell them about, it’s like – not cool. That’s something you shouldn’t ever do. To understand what that means for me and the rest of my people. You can’t say this because of the history of what that word means to everybody.”

While the cast for the next season has yet to be officially announced, the Below Deck season 9 reunion aired this week, and Lindsey, Chase, and O’Dell rehashed their issues. Check out a clip from the reunion below:

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Acting Up”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...