Industry pays tribute to black british music pioneer Jamal Edwards


February 21, 2022

Heartfelt tributes have been pouring in on social media for music entrepreneur and YouTube star Jamal Edwards, who died on Sunday aged 31.

Edwards was the founder of SB.TV, an online urban music platform that was instrumental in bringing grime artists to the forefront and helped the likes of Stormzy, AJ Tracey, J Hus, Dave, Ed Sheeran and Jessie J launch their careers.

He was also a director, author, DJ and designer, and was awarded an MBE in 2014 – when he was 24 – for his work in music.

Born in Luton and raised on a council estate in Acton, West London, Edwards was an ambassador for the Prince's Trust, which helps young people set up their own businesses, and is widely regarded as one of the 'founding fathers' of black music in the UK.

He was a teenager when he started SB.TV, uploading clips he recorded of his friends performing freestyles on the estate, and quickly grew the YouTube channel into a multimillion-pound online youth broadcaster with more than 1.2 million subscribers.

Edwards was tragically found dead from a heart attack by his mother after coming home late from a DJ set, a friend has claimed.

Main image: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

British rapper and singer Hardy Caprio was among those paying tribute, saying on Twitter: “Saving one life is something to be proud of. Saving multiple is something to be celebrated for. Here is a man who saved all of our lives whether you were watching his vids or an artist he gave opportunity. R.I.P Jamal Edwards. Those good deeds will always follow you.

“You took us kids from a council estate to voices in the mainstream and by that helped us provide for all our families. We’re forever in debt to you.”

Rapper AJ Tracey added: "RIP Jamal Edwards, west London legend status."

The MOBO Awards said: "We are deeply saddened to learn of Jamal Edwards passing. As the founder of SBTVonline, his groundbreaking work and legacy in British music and culture will live on. Our hearts and thoughts are with his friends and family."

Rapper KSI, who recently performed at the BRIT Awards, said: "Life ain’t fair. Your legacy will always live on. “Self belief” was your motto and I, like many others, have carried and will continue to carry that through with everything I do.”

Figures from all corners of the music industry have been paying their respects on social media this week, including Simon Cowell, comedian Munya Chawawa, popular Birmingham rapper Jaykae, and British actor, rapper, director and writer Adam Deacon:

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