Jamal Edwards is dead: the founder of SBTV, the leader of the British music industry was 31 years old
Jamal Edwards, a major figure in the British music industry known for founding music platform SBTV, which helped popularize grime and launch several major musicians, died on Sunday. He was 31 years old.
Edwards’ death was reported by the BBC on Sunday evening after the publication was confirmed by Edwards’ company. No further details of his death are available at this time.
Edwards attended the BRIT Awards on February 8 and reportedly performed as a DJ in London on Saturday night.
Born in Luton in 1990, Edwards grew up in Acton, West London. He launched SBTV as a YouTube channel in 2006, operating the platform as a youth broadcaster, before gaining a large enough following to sign with major record labels. While developing SBTV, Edwards earned a BTEC degree in Media Moving Pictures from Ealing Art College. The channel’s name is derived from Edwards’ rap stage name, SmokeyBarz.
With a focus on discovering emerging artists, SBTV would come to feature the early work of several major artists, including Ed Sheeran, Dave, Jessie J, Rita Ora, Bugzy Malone, Krept & Konan, and Stormzy. Since its inception, the platform has grown to 1.22 million YouTube subscribers and garnered over 1 billion video views.
As SBTV grew, Edwards used its success to support mental health programs. In 2021, he is launching a project to redevelop the youth centers.
In 2014, Edwards received an MBE in 2014 for his contributions to music. He was also an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, a youth charity run by the Prince of Wales which helps young entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. Beyond music, Edwards was also a director, writer and designer.