Is Amazon Prime Video's 'Swarm' Based on a True Story? What to Know
The series, which includes many parallels to Beyoncé and her fanbase, is loosely inspired by true events
Amazon Prime Video's Swarm is causing a fan frenzy.
Created by Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, the series follows a young woman named Dre (Dominique Fishback) whose obsession with a female pop star named Ni'Jah (Nirine S. Brown) takes her on a dark series of events.
Since its premiere on March 17, the show has gained critical acclaim for its writing and performances from its star-studded cast, including Chloe Bailey, Paris Jackson, Damson Idris and Billie Eilish in her debut acting role. However, what has captivated fans the most is that it's inspired by actual events, as disclaimed at the end of the show's credits.
Though the series maintains that it is still "a work of fiction," the storyline features many parallels to "fandom" culture, particularly Beyoncé and her fanbase (known as the Beyhive).
Read ahead for everything to know about the true story behind the show and Beyoncé's involvement.
Warning: spoilers for Swarm ahead.
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Is Swarm based on a true story?
Throughout the series, there are many similarities between pop star Ni'Jah and Beyoncé, like subtle references to her music, tours and even outfits.
During the show's SXSW premiere, Nabers noted that the entire idea for the show actually stemmed from an Internet rumor that went viral about a young woman named Marissa Jackson from Texas who reportedly died by suicide after she learned that "a certain pop star was being cheated on by her husband," she said, alluding to Lemonade.
"My very best friend's last name is Jackson. So there was a text 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 dispelled later on Black Twitter," she explained, per Indie Wire.
"So when Donald pitched this idea of a Black woman who's obsessed with the pop star, I said, 'I know what the pilot is' and ran with it. So every episode deals with real news stories, real events or Internet rumors that have happened, and we have put our wonderful woman at the center of that story."
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Additionally, Nabers previously told Variety that all the murders on the show, "with the exception of episode 4, [have] a true foundation."
In an interview with Variety, Nabers noted that the death of Rashida (Kiersey Clemons) was inspired by a real-life murder that took place in Georgia in 2018.
"[It's based on] a young woman that was brutally killed and discarded in some sort of kind of like desert, woodsy area," she explained. "That was a White woman, but we did our own thing. All of that is based on real situations."
Was Beyoncé involved in Swarm?
Despite the numerous nods to Beyoncé, the singer had no involvement in the series. That being said, the show does feature many celebrities in her inner circle, including co-creator Glover.
"Donald and Beyoncé are obviously friends," Nabers told Shondaland about the singer's thoughts on the show. "They've worked together, they are colleagues, so many people in our camp have worked with her and know her. And then Amazon is a legit corporation, right? So, we're not going to do anything that is remotely uncouth. Everything has been legally combed through, [and] these are real events that have existed in the world. We're just giving people faces and names and giving them dialogue."
Most notably, Dre's sister, Marissa "Ris" Jackson, is played by Chloe Bailey, who is signed to Beyoncé's label Parkwood and has often been referred to as Beyoncé's protégée along with her sister Halle.
"[The] greatest advice I've received from her is to trust my gut and my instinct, and to speak up for what I need and for what I want," Chloe previously told PEOPLE about her music mentor, "and I truly love her."
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Has Beyoncé seen Swarm?
It's unclear if Beyoncé has actually seen Swarm, as the show's creators and cast have been careful not to mention the singer by name when talking about the series. Instead, they have often referenced a "pop star who shall not be named" during various interviews.
Following the show's SXSW premiere, Nabers briefly talked about Beyoncé's reaction to the show during a post-screening Q&A session. When asked if the singer has seen the show herself, she responded, "Of course," before adding that she couldn't share any more information, according to Variety.
However, the publication noted that the morning after the Q&A panel, a representative for "Nabers said that she had misspoken, and does not know who has seen the series and who hasn't."
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.
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