While Swarm comes from the minds of Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, both of whom worked together on Atlanta before they co-created the Prime Video series, it also features contributions from Malia Obama, who makes her TV writing debut on the show.
And Obama’s episode does not disappoint, with Nabers, who serves as the series’ showrunner, telling ET that “[‘Girl, Bye’] is probably one of the wildest episodes.” She adds, “I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people. It’s pretty dope. I’m really proud of it.”
Without giving anything away, Swarm follows a young woman named Dre (Dominique Fishback), who goes on an increasingly violent journey following an unexpected trauma involving her sister, Marissa (Chloe Bailey), as she tries to get closer to her idol, the Houston-born singer Ni’Jah.
“Girl, Bye,” which features a teleplay co-written by Nabers and Obama based on a story by Nabers and Ibra Ake, comes just past the halfway point as the wildly fascinating series continues to become more and more twisted with each one of Dre’s encounters with people that come across her path.
“Some of her pitches were wild as hell, and they were just so good and so funny,” Nabers says of the former first daughter. “She’s an incredible writer. She brought a lot to the table… She’s really, really dedicated to her craft.”
After first interning on the set of Girls and then working as a production assistant on the Halle Berry series Extant, Obama was recruited by Glover to be a staff writer on Swarm, which also included Stephen Glover, Ake, Jamal Olori, Kara Brown and Karen Joseph Adcock in the writers’ room.
“She’s just, like, an amazingly talented person,” Glover told Vanity Fair last year, adding that “she’s really focused, and she’s working really hard.” Not only that, but he was in awe of her work. “I feel like she’s just somebody who’s gonna have really good things coming soon… Her writing style is great,” he said.
“It was like a family,” Nabers says now, referring to how Obama “just folded into [the group].” The showrunner adds, “I’m really excited for everyone to get to know her work, and the work of the writers on a show.”
Obama also made an impression on Fishback and Bailey, both of whom gushed about working with her on set. “It was nice to know that she was going to be on it and that we had different voices and different generations involved in making the show,” Fishback says, adding, “It was pretty cool to meet her. I think she’s dope.”
For Bailey, the series marked a reunion of sorts. “It was always so fun and exciting getting to run into Malia and Sasha years prior… So, having that relationship with Mrs. Obama and getting to meet her daughters, I was always so honored and they always felt like my family in my head,” the singer-actress says.
“So, getting to see Malia now, us both growing into who we are as young women and making our own mark, her as an incredible writer and me making my mark as an entertainer and an actress, it was really fun,” Bailey beams. “I was just so excited when I actually got to see her on set. I’m just so proud of her.”
Swarm is now streaming on Prime Video.
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