Social media has truly evolved from the days of picking your 'Top 5' and adding HTML to your page for fun visual effects—RIP MySpace. Now, we have a multitude of platforms that allow us to do everything from monetize our personal video content, introduce the world to our budding talents and careers as well as interact with friends, celebrities and brands in ways we never imagined. But for many Black content creators, some spaces don't always feel welcoming or inclusive. That's where the Spill App comes in.

Co-created by former Twitter employees, Alphonzo “Phonz” Terrell and DeVaris Brown, the app officially made its grand entrance into the world during the log Fourth of July weekend. It was also just after Elon Musk announced new changes to Twitter, that left many seeking a fresh outlet without all the drama. In droves, Black influencers and celebrities were seen posting that they had migrated over to the Spill—without much context on exactly what it was. So, naturally, the mystery behind it all had the internet talking.

EBONY was able to not only get an early seat into the Spill app audience, but we also had a chance to chat with the brand's global head of community and partnerships, Kenya Parham. Below, Parham walks us through everything we should know about the app, some of its functionalities, and how this space seeks to bring a breath of fresh air for Black and Queer communities.

Image: Courtesy of Spill.

EBONY: People are calling the switch to Spill "the Black Twitter great migration." Was that always the goal, or did it just work out that way with everything happening with Elon?

Kenya Parham: Welcoming 130,000 users to join a brand-new platform in three days is not something you can goal against. We have been building in anticipation for an opportune moment. The Spill migration—as our users called it—is a reflection that people are actively looking for something new. And we are honored they are giving us a shot. As someone with a background in electoral politics, it feels like this is more than a migration, it's a movement.

We want the app to be the de facto place to discuss and discover culture. We aren’t trying to be “another” but instead want to build on the learnings that we’ve gathered over the past two decades in social, and create something that people can enjoy and feel safe on. Black culture and queer culture are unmatched in their impact, but these communities often get the most hate. Our thesis is that if we can create an app where these communities can thrive, then we have a winning product. 

What are some of your favorite features in the app, that sets it apart from other social media platforms?

I love the ability to choose different types of media. Link a song with a picture or a GIF, and add text on it with a deep link. It's a very dynamic and rich way to communicate and build community. Believe it or not, we already rolled out a new feature, Stacks. It’s for colorful app users who need more options when 90 characters isn’t enough. We’re already seeing our community use them in really creative ways.

Image: Courtesy of Spill.

How will you ensure that the Spill app will remain a safe space for the Black community? 

We’re trying to crack the code on how to create a safe space online. Spill is a service we are building that is going to draw in a lot of people on all sides. We firmly believe that technical and cultural competence are not exclusive. Our guidelines are clear about what we do and don’t stand for, but we can also be thoughtful and creative in how we enhance that work through new technology. We’re training a large language model in AI with people that are representative of the communities we’re building this for. That just makes sense.

Also, is it specifically for Black users only?

Spill is an app for everybody. We are very unapologetic about who we are, not just in the identity of the brand but the people who are building it— our team.  We will always center Black people, particularly Black women, and the queer community in how we build and grow. Because of that, the app is better for everyone. That includes communities around the world, from Afrobeats to Champions League. We’ve built for a global presence from day one and already have teams based around the world.