Donald Glover’s new series (‘Atlanta’) is a kind of hybrid. The remarkable ‘Swarm’ kicks off every episode with a sign warning that “any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or real events is intentional” even though this bloody comedy is clearly not really based on a true story.
However, what Glover and Janine Nabers offer us is… complex because the Amazon Prime Video series is basically a subversion of the true crime genre. Or, rather, a series that takes the conventions of this genre and seasons them with touches of facts and characters inspired by the real world to give us a curious mixture.
Thus, the question that the server asked itself throughout the series… and that was also reinforced with the penultimate episode (made as a true crime documentary) is to what extent what we have seen in ‘Swarm’ is real. The answer, according to the creators of the series, is much.
Bee by Beyonce
We start with the obvious. Although they have twisted everything to keep it within the limits of the legal, the series does not hide at all that Ni’Jah is Beyoncé. Both were born in Houston, they have another artist sister and, in that 2017 in which part of the series is set, they are pregnant with twins. Also the fandom, “swarm” reminds the “beehive” (hive).
But the similarities do not end there: Festival is a reference to lemonadethe surprise album that the singer released in 2016 and there is also talk of a fight between Ni’Jah’s sister and husband, recalling the infamous elevator incident with Solange and Jay Z.
Another incident portrayed in the series is based on the anecdote that Tiffany Haddish told at the time about how Beyoncé was bitten by a fan. In the series we know that this was Dre (Dominique Fishburn). However, despite the obvious winks, during the press tour and presentations both Glover and Nabers they have been very careful to name it directlyalluding to her as “a certain pop star”.
The rumor that inspired ‘Swarm’
Having seen who the artist is referred to throughout the series, it’s time to see where the inspiration for ‘Swarm’ comes from and if Dre represents a real murderer or not. The answer is, again, somewhat complex. According to Glover and Nabers, everything is based or inspired in one way or another by a true story.
In fact, the The mere germ of the idea was something that obsessed Nabers:
“There was a rumor in Texas that a girl named Marissa Jackson committed suicide because she found out that a certain pop star was being cheated on by her husband. And my best friend’s last name is Jackson. So there was a chat with some of my friends where we were like “Who is Marissa Jackson?”. For two days we thought this was a real event and it was later dispersed by black Twitter. So when Donald pitched this idea of a pop star obsessed black woman I said “I know what the pilot is like” and went with it. Each episode deals with real news, facts or Internet rumors that have happened and we have put our wonderful woman at the center of this story.
Except for the fourth episode, every Dre murder is based on a true story. In fact, the one we see in the final episode is inspired by that of a woman brutally murdered and abandoned in a wooded area of Georgia back in 2018. The sixth episode, moreover, is quite based on the experiences of people close to the creators.
Although they claim that all the murders are based on real events, neither one nor the other wanted to specify not get into details. This, in my opinion, gives the series an even more captivating and mysterious air.
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