In an interview excerpt that has now gone viral, “Swarm” creator Donald Glover caused a stir when he explained how he wanted the star of the series, Dominique Fishback, to approach her character.
In the Vulture article, Glover states: “I kept telling her, ‘You’re not regular people. You don’t have to find the humanity in your character. That’s the audience’s job...think of it more like an animal and less like a person.’” He continued:
“Actors in general, they want to get layered performances. And I don’t think [Dominique Fishback’s character] 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 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.’”
Twitter was ablaze with criticism, noting that him likening a Black woman to an animal is just his latest problematic comment in a string of offenses. In addition, some were upset that other shows, like Netflix’s “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” and “You,” humanize the main characters who also are serial killers.
Glover’s attitude was the complete opposite of this and he’s being called out for it. However, why should murderers be humanized? Often, Black women are pigeonholed or relegated to certain roles onscreen. Fishback’s character on “Swarm” breaks the mold for what is expected of a marginalized group that are routinely overlooked in the acting world.
There should be room for imperfection, as The Root previously explored. But now, Glover’s history of disparaging remarks about Black women has come up to the surface again—and he should be held accountable for them. Following criticism of how his popular show “Atlanta” poorly portrayed Black women, he did a bizarre Q&A with Interview magazine to address the controversy.
Glover interviewed himself in an awkward exchange where he asked if he was “afraid of Black women.” He also accused himself of “using Black women to question [his] Blackness.” In past comedy sketches and on his albums, he joked about allowing non-Black women to call him the N-word during sexual encounters, fetishized Asian women and made light of sexual assault.
Though he has never publicly apologized for anything he has said or done, back in 2013 Glover took to social media to share the following message: “Mistakes you’ve made during the year, your life, your eternity, you’re always allowed to be better. You’re always allowed to grow up...if you want.” It’s clear that his artistry has evolved, but has Glover?
It’s unlikely that he will address his controversial comments, but hopefully he will listen to the critique and move more carefully when it comes to how he discusses Black women in the future.