British Music Entrepreneur and Youtube pioneer, Jamal Edwards, Dies at 31

Youtuber Jamal Edwards, the founder of the media platform SBTV, has died at the age of 31. Edwards was a successful entrepreneur, author, director, and DJ.

Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald

Edwards launched the SBTV YouTube channel “on a £20 phone” while still in high school in 2006, supplementing his income by working part-time at Topman. The Youtuber worked full-time on SBTV, named after his rap name SmokeyBarz. He received an MBE in 2014 for his contributions to the music industry.

Unimaginable Loss

Edwards’ mother, Brenda Edwards, announced Edwards’ death in a statement on Sunday, February 20th.

“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.”

In his final social media post, he tells Ed Sheeran he is ‘blessed to have you in my life’.

Some of the world’s most successful musicians, including Ed Sheeran, Dave, and Jessie J, launched their careers through SBTV, Edwards’ platform; which began as a YouTube channel, before being signed by major labels.

“Ambassador For a New Generation”

Credit: Yahoo! New Zealand

Edwards was born in Luton in 1990 and grew up in Acton, west London. While developing SBTV, he earned a BTec diploma in media moving image from Ealing College and supported himself financially by working at Topman.

Edwards took on a philanthropic career, which included work in mental health and funding for youth centres. He worked to dispel stereotypes about men’s mental health, openly discussing his own anxiety, and in 2021 launched a project to renovate and reopen youth centres.

Prince Charles’ Clarence House tweets,

“Thinking of the family of Jamal Edwards today. His work in music but also as an ambassador for a new generation, including his work for The Prince’s Trust, were an inspiration to so many.”

Hundreds of tributes have poured in since the news broke on Sunday.

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