After Atlanta’s popularity, which delighted both viewers and reviewers, Donald Glover has returned with Swarm, another fantastical, hilarious, genre-defying original series. The Prime Video original series, co-created by Janine Nabers, recounts the tale of Dre (Dominique Fishback), a devoted follower who resorts to violence to protect the dignity of her idol, fictitious pop artist Ni’Jah.
While no specific real-life celebrities are named, many fans have seen parallels between the Swarm narrative and actual events surrounding Beyoncé, Stan Twitter’s favorite superstar, which begs the question:
Is Swarm A True Story?
No, and yes. Every episode of Swarm opens with a title card that subverts the traditional disclaimer that usually goes along with tales based on actual events and informs the viewer that the resemblance to real-life persons and events is entirely deliberate.
The title card is more of a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment to the audience than a proclamation that it should be taken seriously, but it’s a fair indication of Swarm’s approach towards presenting real events as it extensively borrows from a lot of headlines, even though the names have been altered.
Swarm purposefully uses the images and symbolism of Beyoncé’s followers, the Beyhive, in everything from the promotion to the music to the title. The series’ central idea is to fictionalize and mock the lengths that Twitter users, often referred to as “stans,” would go to in order to defend their beloved public figures, utilizing the Beyhive’s renown for fervent devotion as a backdrop.
Swarm is kind of based on a genuine story in that way. It draws heavily on Beyoncé and her supporters and borrows a number of story aspects from odd public situations involving Beyoncé.
The episode’s pivotal moment occurs when Dre finally has the opportunity to see Ni’Jah in person, but he becomes frightened and bites her at a party before running away. Of course, this is a parody of the hyped-up “who bit Beyoncé?” rumor that circulated a few years back.
The incisive plot is similar to many other Swarm stories that draw inspiration from real-world events: Ni’Jah performs at Bonnaroo, and Beyoncé attended Coachella. As Beyoncé was on her “On the Run II Tour,” Ni’Jah started his “Running Scared II Tour”.
Even Ni’Jah’s record promotion has Beyoncé-like characteristics. Along with a tonne of visual allusions, the Swarm season premiere “Stung” reveals that Ni’Jah has issued a surprise visual album called Festival, following Beyoncé’s well-known release technique when she unexpectedly unleashed Lemonade.
Then, of course, there is the Swarm itself: Beyoncé’s admirers are known as the Beyhive, while Ni’Jah’s fans refer to themselves as the killing swarm (buzz buzz).
Is Swarm Influenced By Beyoncé?
The creative team behind Swarm, which also includes Stephen Glover, Donald Glover’s brother, and Malia Obama, the daughter of President and Michelle Obama, spent months investigating fan culture rumors, hypotheses, and social media tales to reference in the show.
One of them is the rumor from 2018 that Beyoncé was bitten by a fan, which Tiffany Haddish discussed in a GQ interview. This occurs towards the conclusion of episode 3 when we witness Dre feel giddy about being near to Ni’Jah at a club, and in the fourth episode, when we learn that fan ideas regarding Dre’s identity are rife on social media.
“When you’re looking at the seven episodes that span a two-and-a-half year period, we are basically showing things that have existed on the internet as stories or news stories and then we put our main character in the middle of all of that,” Nabers said about the show in an interview with Den of Geek.
It’s okay if you’re watching the show and wondering how Swarm manages to veer so perilously close to the truth without running afoul of the law. Nabers affirms that everything in the series is legal, despite the unverified (but persistent) rumor that Beyoncé has or has not seen Swarm.
In an interview with Shondaland, she stated: “Look, it’s clear that Donald and Beyoncé get along. Several individuals in our camp have worked with her and know her since they are coworkers who have worked together. So Amazon must be a legitimate company, right? Hence, we won’t do anything even slightly impolite.
“These are actual occurrences that have taken place in the real world, and everything has been thoroughly legalized. We’re only giving individuals names, faces, and speech.”
You’ll find some links to more forthcoming television programs farther down this page; we’ve included them for your convenience:
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Is Billie Eilish’s Persona Based On A Real-Life Event?
In her acting debut, Billie Eilish plays the kind and hospitable Eva, a figure you can’t help but adore until becoming wary of her. On the way to a music event where she expects to meet Ni’Jah, Dre passes by her commune.
After being offered free tickets via a friend for the festival they’re all planning to attend, Dre accepts an invitation to the group’s house and sleeps there. Together, they walk and participate in “EU,” a sort of treatment run by Eva, the executive director of the female empowerment club. Dre is forced into performing one and then discloses her actual name and background.
Although though Eva only appears in one episode of the show, this has led many viewers to question if the cult-like organization is based on reality. In actuality, it adds a terrifying real crime component to Swarm.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Nabers cited the NXIVM cult and its founder Keith Raniere as the sources of inspiration for Eilish’s character. Raniere was found guilty of sex trafficking in 2020 and received a 120-year prison term as well as a $1.75 million fine. She uttered: “There was a cult that was highly popular at the time and was present throughout the globe.
“And it describes the true-crime component of that show. And I believe that when people think of artists or celebrities, they tend to conjure up images of the Taylor Swift cult, the Beatles cult, or some other such phenomenon. We were more intrigued by the simple act of seeing someone bow down to the altar of “something” and [exploring] the concept of the cult of the mind.”
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