Internet hoax about Beyoncé super fan served as ‘catalyst’ for TV thriller Swarm

Swarm has shed light on an internet rumor from seven years ago about an alleged Beyoncé mega-fan named Marissa Jackson.

WARNING: Content of a disturbing nature and spoilers from Swarm ahead

Amazon Prime Video’s new thriller series, Swarm, has captivated the internet since its release on Friday, March 17. The series, created by Atlanta’s Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, explores the dangerously obsessive side of ‘stan culture’.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a viewer who can’t see the parallels between the show’s popstar, Ni’Jah (Nirine S Brown), and Beyoncé. The creators have said Ni’Jah isn’t supposed to be a stand-in for Queen Bey, although the pop star’s run-ins in the real world have been dramatized in the show. So, who is Marissa Jackson, the rumored mega-fan from Houston, Texas?

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

The ‘Marissa Jackson Beyoncé’ rumor explained

One of the leading inspirations when creating Swarm came from internet rumors from 2016. That year, Beyoncé released the critically-acclaimed album Lemonade, which revolved around infidelity. Lemonade’s lyrics spawned much speculation over the state of Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s marriage, with some fans concerned the lyrics hinted at an alleged affair.

Empire Herald, a known hoax and satire website, propagated a rumor that a woman named Marissa Jackson had taken her own life after Beyoncé released Lemonade. The article quotes a supposed friend of Jackson’s who discussed how obsessed Jackson had become with Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s marriage. After hearing Lemonade, the prospect of an alleged affair drove Jackson to despair.

So, is Marissa Jackson a real person?

No. Despite what the Amazon Prime Video thriller might lead you to think – the show claims to be “not a work of fiction” – Marissa Jackson is not a real person and did not take her own life after Lemonade was released.

Playwright Janine Nabers, who co-created the show, explained that people in Houston were convinced Marissa Jackson was real after hearing the rumor. “I’m from Houston, Texas, and my very best friend’s last name is Jackson,” Nabers said of the rumor. “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,” Nabers explained in a Shondaland interview.

Marissa Jackson is the name of Chloë Bailey’s character in the show. However, she is not inspired by a real person.

Swarm does such a good job of toeing the line between fiction and nonfiction that some viewers have even been questioning whether our murderous lead, Andrea Greene, is real.

Rumored events from Beyoncé’s life are dramatized in Swarm

Despite not being entirely based on real people or events, there are moments dotted throughout Swarm that have been taken from real life. Notably, from Beyoncé’s real life.

One memorable moment from the show recreates viral moment from 2018 when Tiffany Haddish claimed someone bit Beyoncé. “There was this actress there that’s just, like, doing the mostest. She bit Beyoncé in the face,” Haddish alleged in a GQ interview.

Janine Nabers described rumors about Beyoncé fans, notably Marissa Jackson, as “a little bit of the catalyst to this show” in her Shondaland interview. “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.” But Nabers explains that they are just used as a catalyst and launchpad for the show’s drama.

If you are affected by any issues raised in the article or would like someone to speak to, please call the Samaritans for free on 116 123. You can also email them at [email protected] or visit to find your nearest branch in the UK. In the US, please visit Samaritans USA for more information.

You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text 741741 to get in touch with the Crisis Text Line. Americans can now call or text 988 to reach out and speak to a counsellor.

Stream episodes of Swarm on Amazon Prime Video now

In other news, Does David Kostyk die in Shadow And Bone season 2?

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