Jamal Edwards, the widely respected British entrepreneur and founder of influential UK youth media brand SBTV has died, aged 31.
The news was confirmed to the media by his team on Sunday (February 20).
Edwards’ company, which he founded in 2006 when he was just 15, helped launch the careers of some of the UK’s biggest music stars.
SBTV began with Edwards uploading videos to YouTube of his friends rapping in London, after receiving a camera as a present for Christmas. The ‘SB’ stands for ‘Smokey Barz’, which was Edwards own rap name.
Edwards’ videos featuring emerging UK rap stars started to explode on YouTube and the SBTV channel grew to become one of the UK’s key new music discovery platforms.
SBTV showcased many British rappers-turned superstar artists over the years including Stormzy, Skepta and Dave, in addition to being an early champion of the likes of Ed Sheeran and Jessie J.
In 2014 Edwards was awarded an MBE for services to music.
He also received a start-up award from Sir Richard Branson’s in Virgin Media 2014.
Edwards was a Prince’s Trust ambassador.
In a statement sent to the UK’s Loose Women, Edwards’ mother (Brenda Edwards) disclosed that he died of a “sudden illness”.
“It is with the deepest heartache that I can confirm that my beautiful son Jamal Edwards passed away yesterday morning after a sudden illness,” she wrote.
“Myself, his sister Tanisha and the rest of his family and friends are completely devastated. He was the centre of our world.”
“Try anything, don’t be scared of failure, that is my advice.”
Jamal Edwards, speaking in 2013
Speaking with the BBC in 2013, Edwards said: “Try anything, don’t be scared of failure, that is my advice.”
“The only failure is not trying. And when you find your niche, what you are really good at, hit it so hard.”
YouTube paid tribute to Edwards, writing: “We’ve lost a legend today. Jamal Edwards was an inspiration to so many, supporting artists and shaping culture through @SBTVonline. Sending our condolences to Jamal’s family & community.”
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