Is Swarm based on a true story? The real life Beyoncé rumour that inspired the series

22 March 2023, 10:50

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Sam  Prance

By Sam Prance

The team behind Swarm used the internet rumour about Beyoncé fan Marissa Jackson as the basis of their series.

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Swarm is finally out on Prime and fans are now wondering if the show is based on a true story and if Beyoncé was involved?

Created by Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, Swarm is a brand new psychological thriller series in which a young woman's obsession with a pop star takes a very dark turn. Swarm stars Dominique Fishback as the show's lead character Dre. Dre's life revolves around fictional singer Ni'Jah. Chloë Bailey, Paris Jackson and Billie Eilish also have roles in the new series.

READ MORE: Who bit Beyoncé? Swarm's Ni'Jah and Dre scene is based on a true story

From the get-go, it's very apparent that the character of Ni'Jah was inspired by Beyoncé. How true is the story though and did anything that happen in Swarm actually happen in real life? The show was inspired by a real-life Beyoncé rumour and multiple other events that actually happened.

Is Swarm about Beyoncé? Is it a true story?

Is Swarm based on a true story? The real life Beyoncé rumour that inspired the series
Is Swarm based on a true story? The real life Beyoncé rumour that inspired the series. Picture: Prime Video / Parkwood / Prime Video

The majority of Swarm is fictional but parts are based on true events that actually happened. Talking to Shondaland about it, Swarm creator Janine Nabers revealed: "The pilot episode is based on a true event that existed on the internet. We started the story from there and kind of built off it with real events that happened in America between about 2016 and 2018."

Explaining the event, Janine said: "In April of 2016, Lemonade was released. On the same night, there was a rumour about a woman named Marissa Jackson who committed suicide after watching this visual album because it basically confirmed that a very powerful man was cheating on one of the most incredibly beautiful and successful pop stars of our time."

READ MORE: Is Swarm’s Andrea Greene a real person? The true inspiration behind the murderer explained

Janine added: "I’m from Houston, Texas, and my very best friend’s last name is Jackson. There was a lot of texting between Houstonians being like, “Yo, who is this Marissa Jackson? Is this a true story?” And that existed on the internet for a while, and people were tweeting really horrible things about this woman who had killed herself and making fun of her."

Janine ended by saying: "It was a little bit of the catalyst to this show, and that’s when I researched all the crazy stories that we’ve heard online or that have existed in the real world revolving around this particular musician and how could we bring those issues to life and make them our own."

In other words, Dre is not an actual person but her character and actions were inspired by real-life stories.

Was Beyoncé involved in Swarm?

Chloe Bailey and Dominique Fishback star in Swarm
Chloe Bailey and Dominique Fishback star in Swarm. Picture: Prime Video / Alamy

As mentioned above, Swarm is heavily inspired by Beyoncé, the BeyHive and real-life events that have happened. Any fan of Beyoncé will be able to see that Ni'Jah's artistry, visuals and performance style in the show are very reminiscent of Beyoncé. Not to mention, Ni'Jah's fandom in the show is called the Swarm which is a clear reference to Beyoncé's BeyHive.

Perhaps most interestingly, Chlöe Bailey, who is signed to Beyoncé's label Parkwood, stars in the new show as Dre's sister Marissa. However, in spite of all the connections to Beyoncé, Beyoncé had no personal involvement in Swarm.

READ MORE: Is Swarm's Marissa Jackson a real person? The truth behind Chloe Bailey's character

Discussing how Beyoncé might feel about the series, Janine told Shondaland: "Donald and Beyoncé are obviously friends. 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."

When asked if Beyoncé has seen the series in a Variety Q&A, Janine said: "Of course". However, she then said that she couldn't say anything further on the matter.

We shall update you if Beyoncé ever publicly comments on the series.

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