Donald Glover's Swarm Reignites Misogynoir Accusations

Donald Glover's Swarm Reignites Misogynoir Accusations

Swarm is the Amazon Prime show currently making waves on the internet with fans and critics alike. The psychological horror and thriller tells of a passionate fan out to protect her favorite pop star at all costs. While it sounds like a fun ride, people are giving showrunner Donald Glover the side eye for his portrayal of the show's lead character, a Black woman.

In an interview with Vulture, Glover recently revealed the thought process behind his treatment of Dominique Fishback who plays Dre, the show's cold, magnetic lead. He did not tell her about the character's backstory, instead telling her, "You’re not regular people. You don’t have to find the humanity in your character. That’s the audience’s job.”

He further went on to say, "Actors in general, they want to get layered performances. And I don’t think Dre is that layered. I wanted her performance to be brutal. It’s a raw thing. It reminds me of how I have a fear with dogs because I’m like, ‘You’re not looking at me in the eye, I don’t know what you’re capable of.'”

He admits that the lack of backstory made it hard for Fishback to connect with her role for a while, comparing her to an animal. "She really was lost a lot of the time,” he said. “Think of it more like an animal and less like a person."

A screenshot of this excerpt went viral, and people are resurfacing his past comments about Black women and other previous behavior.

Glover previously worked with Interview Magazine to, curiously, interview himself. In it, he had this exchange:

Are you afraid of Black women?
Why are you asking me that?

I feel like your relationship to them has played a big part in your narrative.
I feel like you’re using Black women to question my Blackness.

Alright. Are you gonna teach your kids how to be Black?
[Laughs] Well, yeah? Should someone else?

The last question about his children is in reference to Glover being in a longtime relationship with Michelle White, a white woman.

Other people have come to Swarm's defense, citing people such as co-creator Janine Nabers as Black women who have had a part in the show and whose work should not be diminished.

Glover nor the rest of the cast has responded to this criticism yet.

Glover had previously come under fire for his portrayal of Black women in his hit FX series Atlanta. Van, who is played by Zazie Beetz, has a character arc where she undergoes an identity crisis. Critics took issue with his writing of Black women, either giving them an identity crisis or portraying them as loud and aggressive.

Photo courtesy of Matteo Prandoni