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Jamal Edwards
via Instagram (@jamaledwards)

Tributes pour in for music industry legend Jamal Edwards

The SBTV founder passed away on Sunday

Jamal Edwards, founder of media platform SBTV, has passed away aged 31. Edwards was also a talented entrepreneur, author, director, and DJ, and in 2014 was awarded an MBE for his services to the music industry.

Edwards started the SBTV YouTube channel “on a £20 phone” while he was still at school in 2006, supporting himself by working part-time at Topman. After receiving a BTEC diploma in media moving image from Ealing College, Edwards began working on SBTV – named after his rap name SmokeyBarz – full-time.

The platform ultimately became a leading online youth lifestyle broadcaster in the 2010s, featuring early music from artists including Stormzy, Rita Ora, Krept & Konan, and Bugzy Malone. Many of the UK’s most successful artists, including Ed Sheeran, Dave and Jessie J, went on to launch their careers through SBTV. At present, SBTV boasts over 1.2 million subscribers and has amassed nearly one billion total views.

Alongside running SBTV, Edwards also undertook extensive philanthropic work: he campaigned to break down taboos surrounding men’s mental health and publicly spoke about his own experience of anxiety. He was also an ambassador for the Prince of Wales’ charity, the Prince’s Trust. Most recently, in 2021 he launched a project to refurbish and reopen youth centres.

Edwards’ mother and Loose Women panellist Brenda Edwards announced his death in a statement on Sunday 20th February: "It is with the deepest heartache that I confirm that my beautiful son Jamal Edwards passed away yesterday morning after a sudden illness. Myself, his sister Tanisha, and the rest of his family and friends are completely devastated. He was the centre of our world.”

"As we come to terms with his passing, we ask for privacy to grieve this unimaginable loss. I would like to thank everyone for their messages of love and support. Jamal was an inspiration to myself and so many. Our love for him lives on, his legacy lives on. Long live Jamal Edwards MBE, MBA, PhD."

Tributes have poured in since news of Edwards’ death broke on Sunday. AJ Tracey tweeted “RIP Jamal Edwards, west london legend status,” while Dave added “Thank you for everything […] words cannot explain.” Labour MP Zarah Sultana also paid tribute to Edwards, posting “The impact SBTV had on the UK’s music scene and British culture is immeasurable. Rest in peace, Jamal Edwards. My thoughts are with everyone who knew and loved him.”