Jamal Edwards, the founder of SBTV who was awarded an MBE in 2014 for his work in music, has died, aged 31. Edwards' company confirmed the news of his passing to the BBC yesterday (20th February).
In a statement shared this morning (21st) by Edwards' mother, the Loose Women presenter Brenda Edwards, it was confirmed that the entrepreneur, director, DJ, author and designer died after a sudden illness. You can read her statement below, in which she describes her son as an "inspiration to myself and so many".
Luton-born and Acton-raised, Edwards started SBTV in 2006, named as a nod to his then rap name, SmokeyBarz. Originating as a platform for him to share videos filmed on his estate, the platform went on to launch the careers of many artists, featuring work from Stormzy, Jessie J, Dave, Nines, Krept & Konan, and many others.
Edwards was also an advocate for mental health, and in March 2017 he made a documentary with The Guardian about male suicide, where he spoke to his childhood friends who suffer with mental health problems.
A few years later, in 2019, Edwards founded Jamal Edwards Delve (JED) a grassroots youth-centre project, which has refurbished and reopened four youth-centres in Acton since its launch. In December last year, he spoke with Dummy about the project, and said that “getting a little older I just feel like I have to give back”.
He also recently teamed up with Ballantines, who worked with the likes of Honey Dijon to address discrimination in the music industry as part of its True Music Campaign. Edwards was allocated a £10k grant, which he chose to distribute to Black British radio station, No Signal.
Tributes have been paid throughout the UK music industry for Edwards following the news of his death. In a tribute shared to social media yesterday, the MOBO awards said Edwards’ “groundbreaking work & legacy in British music and culture will live on.”
(Photo by Keaton Rich)