If we’ve learned anything from our experience with Camille Cannon, it’s to always expect the unexpected from the seemingly shy journalist.
A former Vegas Seven associate editor and current contributor, the curly-locked California native kept a quiet cool about herself during her time in our newsroom. But as reserved as she may have been, her ideas were wildly inventive. The 26-year-old UC Berkeley grad came to Las Vegas in 2012 with no hands-on journalism experience, but possessed a natural gift for witty, sharp and tongue-in-cheek storytelling.
Cannon’s imagination couldn’t just be confined to paper. After three years, she took her talents to CBS Radio, where she now serves as digital content editor—and quickly advanced to working as an on-air weekend host on Mix 94.1.
Now the media-savvy journalist is sharing her newest, and most ambitious, surprise. Earlier this year, she launched her own website, SKIRRT.com, which features video and editorial content. The site name is a reference to both a common expression in rap music (the sound of screeching tires) and the article of clothing. “The objective was to fuse my different and sometimes conflicting interests in comedy, hip-hop and feminism,” she explains. “That word felt like a combination of those three things.”
The website’s two slogans—“Looking back at it, moving forward” and “Make you think, make you laugh, make it clap”—are extensions of that. “‘Looking back at it’ and ‘make it clap’ are popular phraseologies in rap music,” she says. “The music is the foundation, and I want to build on that. I want to produce something that has a little fun with [the music] and makes you listen to it differently the next time you hear [it].”
“A lot of time when I’m listening to music, I’ll catch a lyric [and] think: how can I like this song so much when it’s saying such degrading things about women?” she says, using her karaoke go-to, Kanye West’s “The New Workout Plan,” as an example. “Kanye is literally telling women how to get into shape to get a man. I’d question why I love this so much. I think it’s because that song and the video are meant to be funny.”
Unlike the erratic rapper, Cannon uses humor to get her point across in a subtle way. “For me and my own ideas, it’s been a reconciling of my own beliefs and my own love for music, which doesn’t always match up,” she says. “I’ve come to terms with that, and it’s OK that I don’t have to choose one or the other. That middle is where I want to have fun with it.”
But it’s not just Cannon who’s having fun with SKIRRT. For the site’s first video, “Drake Says She Says,” Cannon hit the streets of Downtown Las Vegas with an iPhone and some homemade props, asking strangers if they would do the things the Canadian rapper claims women do for him as a playful way to point out his sexism. Drake may be the subject, but Cannon is the star, and she flourishes in front of the camera. She’s in her element delivering quick quips and giggling with strangers.
And while SKIRRT’s content is pro-women, it isn’t exclusive to any gender. “I see the audience as anyone who believes that women and men should be treated equally,” she says. “I’ve actually been hesitant to say that ‘hip-hop, comedy and feminism’ combination of words, [because] I don’t want people to feel chastised by the content.”
Currently, Cannon does everything on her own—writing, editing, graphic design and props, with family and friends on camera duty—while juggling her radio gigs. January will mark SKIRRT.com’s one-year anniversary, and she hopes to grow her brand in 2017. Eventually, she hopes the site evolves into a larger platform that’s part Complex, part Bustle and part Funny or Die. But for now, she just wants to share her perspective.
“I’d like to impact the way society views, talks about and, ultimately, respects women,” she says. “Trying to do that with comedy, and with the music that I love, is just the way that makes the most sense to me.”