Jamal Edwards has died at the age of 31, his company told the BBC. He was the founder of SBTV, an online urban music platform that helped present the works of artists such as Dave, Ed Sheeran and Skepta.
Edward is the son of Loose Women singer and presenter Brenda Edwards, who said she was “completely frustrated”.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall paid tribute to their work as ambassadors for The Prince’s Trust.
They thought about his family, adding: “A wonderful founder and businessman. Jamal Edwards MBE has been a inspiration to many young people. Both for our work and beyond.”
Born in Luton, Edward was appointed MBE of music services in 2014.
A pioneer in British rap and grime music. Edward attended the Brit Awards earlier this month.
He started getting into making films after his parents gave him a video camera. As a Christmas present when he was 15 years old. His mother said he “passed away after a sudden illness”.
It is impossible to overstate how important Jamal Edwards was to British rap.
His YouTube channel, which started with a “£ 20 call” while he was studying, provided early exposure to almost every major player in the game. Stormzy, Skepta, JME, J Hus, Lady Leshurr, Dave, AJ Tracey, Krept & Konan, Headie One… The list is endless.
“Everyone in my area was an MC and I remember thinking, ‘Why can’t I find this online? I’ll record people in my area and post it on Youtube’.” Edward told BBC Radio 1Xtra in 2017. “And since then it has just started building and growing.”
SBTV came at a crucial time. Showing that pollution could thrive on the internet, as police tried to shut down gigs with a controversial 696 risk assessment form.
“I wanted to be Banksy,” he said. “I wanted no one to know who I was.”
Raising awareness about mental health issues
But he made good use of his reputation – raising awareness about mental health issues. Funding youth centers and encouraging other young entrepreneurs.
Music remained his real favorite, however, and he never stopped supporting his favorite artists. Most recently in December, he encouraged Ed Sheeran to record a new verse for a song. He received from Nigerian artist Fireboy DML. That song, Peru, climbed to second place in the UK charts, giving the African star his first international song.
Edward did not take credit – he never did – but hundreds of artists have similar stories.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Twitter that British music and entertainment “had lost some of the brightest stars”.
Rapper Dave wrote on twitter: “Thank you for everything ❤❤ words can’t explain,” and actor and director Adam Deacon wrote “he’s heartbroken”.
“Jamal was one of the kind, humble and humble men I have ever met in this field,” he said. “He always gave me time even when no one else was.”
Actor Idris Elba said Edward wrote on Twitter that Edward would “miss”.
Singer Gabrielle described him as “an incredible young man”.
Chelsea Football Club added that they were “deeply saddened”, saying that Edward – a Chelsea fan – “has been an inspiration to many, we are honored to be part of our Chelsea family”.
In 2019, he directed the Chelsea FC remix video of grime artist Capo Lee’s Style and Swag, and the video features several of the band’s players.
London staff transport and writers All on board, who share inspiring quotes on social media, also paid homage.
He’ s been instrumental in the development of black music, business, and much more.
Presenter and comedian Mo Gilligan, who was in charge of this year’s Brit Awards, wrote on twitter: “A humble and blessed soul. Your legacy will continue for years and inspire a whole generation.”
RIP Jamal Edwards
AJ Tracey is one of the first to pay tribute, writing on Twitter: “RIP Jamal Edwards, the state of Western London mythology”.
Healer Lady Leshurr wrote on twitter that the news of her death was “sad” and praised her for helping with her work.
“He gave me a chance after the opportunity to showcase my talent from Brum to London. We need to keep his name and brand alive,” he wrote.
They added: “As the founder of @SBTVonline, his important work and heritage in British music and culture will continue. Our hearts and minds are with his friends and family.”
SBTV has helped to achieve success
Birmingham-based rapper Jaykae is an example of some of the actions SBTV has helped to achieve success. Although he only won the regular chart as a rapper from the top 20 hit Flowers Flowers two years ago, his videos appeared on SBTV for more than a decade.
Describing Edward as “a myth”, Jaykae wrote on Twitter: “I think I can all speak for ourselves as artists and as fans of the UK grime / rap game if I say I owe this great man! Help me sometimes without talking about him.”
Fashion, writing and the work of giving
In an interview with the BBC in 2013, he said he filmed friends raping or singing and started uploading videos on YouTube to let other friends see them.
“Don’t say my videos had mixed reviews at first, some people didn’t get them, but some people thought they were sick,” he said. “Then I started