SBTV Founder Jamal Edwards dies aged 31

He was just a boy who got a camera for Christmas and he went onto change the Uk music scene forever. At the time I doubt Jamal Edwards knew he would go onto inspire a generation of videographers and musicians to achieve and I was one of them.

Since 2013 Scarcity was orignally a music video channel – before the news, I focused on inner city artists and were one of many channels inspired by Jamal and his success with SBTV. I would direct, edit & promote up and coming artists based on the marketing styles he pioneered.

Like many creators Scarcity owes homage to Jamal Edwards

So it brings me great sadness to confirm Jamal Edwards has died at the age of 31. The cause of death is private and we respect his families wishes for privacy.

The final Instagram post of SB.TV founder and MBE Jamal Edwards was a sweet tribute to his “brother” Ed Sheeran. 

Jamal is the son of Loose Women star Brenda Edwards

He was the founder of SBTV, an online urban music platform which helped launch the careers of artists like Dave, Ed Sheeran and Skepta. Chart-topper AJ Tracey was one of the first to pay tribute online, tweeting “RIP Jamal Edwards, west London legend status”.  Edwards, born in Luton, was appointed an MBE for services to music in 2014. He also became an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, a youth charity run by the Prince of Wales which helps young people set up their own companies.


He had many friends in the Industry including, Professor Green and Rio Ferdinand and was awarded his MBE in the New Years Honours list in 2014 for his work in music and his business.

His mum’s Loose Women co-star Denise Welch said tonight: “My heart aches for my friend Brenda. I can’t bear it. Jamal Edwards was a wonderful son and brother.”

The pioneer’s cause of death has not be revealed.

Brenda and Jamal

Birmingham artist Jaykae paid respects for all Jamal did for Brum. He described Edwards as a “legend”, Jaykae tweeted: “I think I can speak for us all as artists and as supporters of UK grime/rap scene when I say I owe this man so much! Helped me sometimes without even speaking of it.”

He attended the Brit Awards earlier this month and was understood to have performed as a DJ at a gig in north London on Saturday night. No details have been released about his death. Birmingham music mogel and BE83 Founder Despa Robinson also spoke of the impact Jamal had on his life.

Birmingham artist Lady Leshurr tweeted the news of his death was “heartbreaking” and praised him for helping her career.  “He gave me opportunity after opportunity to showcase my talent from Brum into London. We need to keep his name and brand alive,” she wrote.


In a tweet, the organisers of Mobo Awards said they were “deeply saddened” to learn of Edwards’ death. It added: “As the founder of @SBTVonline, his groundbreaking work & legacy in British music and culture will live on. Our hearts and thoughts are with his friends and family.”

Presenter and comedian Mo Gilligan, who hosted this year’s Brit awards, tweeted: “A truly humble and blessed soul. Your legacy will live on for years & you’ve inspired a whole generation.”

Edwards, who was the son of singer and Loose Women presenter Brenda Edwards, first got into film-making after his parents gave him a video camera as a Christmas present when he was 15. In a 2013 interview with the BBC, he said he filmed friends rapping or singing and began to upload the videos to YouTube to allow other friends to see them. “You can say my videos had mixed reviews to begin with, some people didn’t get them, but others thought they were sick [good],” he said. “So I started to put them up on YouTube so everyone could see them, and it just grew from there.”

SBTV – his London-based platform for discovering emerging artists and named after Edwards’ own rapper moniker SmokeyBarz- has since grown to 1.22m subscribers on YouTube. It featured early music videos from artists including J Hus, Emeli Sande and Stormzy – and dozens of other British acts who were not widely known at the time.

Edwards also founded JE Delve, a grassroots charity that provides learning and work opportunities for young people in Ealing, in west London. Among his many achievements – which include being a Princes’s Trust ambassador, Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Sussex and an honorary degree from the University of West London – Jamal also fronted a documentary about mental health in the music industry.

Jamal mother did a interview about her own battle with cancer last year and said:

“I found out I had breast cancer in 2015, eventually she went for a mammogram and biopsy, and then received the call from the oncologist to tell her she had stage three breast cancer. It was time to tell her children, Jamal, 31, and Tanisha, 27: “It was one of the scariest moments of my whole life.

“The colour drained from their faces. My daughter cried and screamed, my son just went silent. I said ‘Please, I don’t want anything to change, don’t start feeling sorry for me, you’ve got to remain positive.’”

Brenda was told the cancer was aggressive and began six months of chemotherapy before a mastectomy.

“It was my right breast that I had the mastectomy for, so my left is still my original breast, and I spent a lot of time wondering if they looked the same. A lot of people say they don’t realise, but I can see a difference and for a couple of years that really bugged me. Then I started thinking this is me now, so I might as well get used to it.”

So Jamal’s cause of death is still unconfirmed but his family have certainly been through alot and are clearly struggling with the news.

My condolences to Jamal’s family and thank you for your legacy.

Written by Dougie Hone

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