Discussions about favorite artists and albums are usually harmless, and this lighthearted conversation can provide insight into one’s tastes without revealing too much. On Swarm
, the delightful Prime Video horror series from Janine Nabers and producer Donald Glover features protagonist Dre (Dominique Fishback) wielding it like a gavel The problem. In Dre’s world, only one answer is acceptable, and only one “artist” exists. Ni’Jah is a Beyoncé-esque pop diva who inspires an almost religious devotion, and she hopes everyone she meets on her transnational crime spree looks at the star with the same reverence — or at least makes They shut up on social media.
Glover is good at sarcasm; many of Atlanta‘s best episodes are a surreal send-off of the music world. Swarm, with its embedded plot and horror undertones, has a different mood, but it’s equally interested in cultural commentary. Series creator Nabers wanted to counter many of the simplifying stereotypes of black women in film and television, so Dre doesn’t quite fit into a category. Rather than a hero, victim, or credible narrator, plucked from celebrity stan culture and various meme-worthy real-world events, Dre is the villain fit for Gen Z. The obsessive tendencies she and the rest of Ni’Jah’s army of fans, Swarm, display are behaviors that pay off in certain circles, where monitoring every aspect of a performer’s life is considered normal and admirable .
Dre has a fan account on Twitter, follows Ni’Jah’s updates on Instagram, and knows every detail about her twin birth is not the problem, the problem is that she Cultivating this knowledge did not enrich her own life. Dre vicariously lives or over-invests in the experiences of those around her: nowhere is this more evident than in her relationship with her best friend, roommate and “sister” Marissa (Chloe Bailey), with whom she She shares an apartment. From Dre’s point of view, their lives have become one and don’t need anything or anyone outside of the two of them. However, having loved Ni’Jah’s music since childhood, Marissa thinks the frenetic part of her life is over and is ready to start a new experience with her long-time unfaithful boyfriend, Khalid, played with sleazy charm by Damson Idris.
For all her recklessness, Marisa is a fully grown human being, ready to step into adulthood. Dre is not. There’s always something “wrong” with her behavior that implies, but Swarm doesn’t diagnose its character. Instead, Dre serves as the embodiment of a certain type of fan who is so invested in their hero that they’ve absorbed some of their key traits. Like the pop stars she admires, Dre sheds looks and personas when they no longer serve them. The emotions of those around her can’t help being projected on a mirror, and each stop on her road trip attracts a new set of victims. In Texas, she was the worst stripper in the world and the sounding board for Paris Jackson’s poor dance partner. Heading to Bonnaroo to see Ni’Jah’s music festival means joining the wellness circle and pretending to tolerate meditation and hiking. Dre’s malleability allows her to pursue her sole goal of getting close to Ni’Jah, even as she leaves a trail of corpses in her wake, knocking past those foolish enough to disagree with her or stand in her way from her mission.