Millions of people around the world are still mourning the passing of musician, entrepreneur and YouTube star Jamal Edwards who founded the online urban music platform SBTV.

Well-known for helping to launch the careers of artists like Dave, Ed Sheeran and Skepta, the son of singer and Loose Women presenter Brenda Edwards – who he described as his “ultimate cheerleader” - will forever be remembered as being the pioneering figure in the rap and grime music scene and for also being a leading ambassador for the Prince's Trust.


Appointed an MBE - for services to music - in 2014, his YouTube channel, which he started "on a £20 phone" while he was still at school, gave early exposure to the likes of Stormzy, JME, J Hus, Lady Leshurr, AJ Tracey, Krept & Konan, Headie One and many more. The success of SBTV meant Edwards became hugely powerful – but, despite its worldwide growth he remained a reluctant frontman.

"I always wanted to be the Banksy" he said. "I wanted no-one to know who I was." But that mindset would change in 2011, when he featured in a Google Chrome advert. A video previously shared by Edwards in 2020 is out again showing Brenda waiting for her son to appear in a storefront fashion advert.

Edwards wrote alongside the clip: ‘My mum gave me life & still continues to give me life. No better cheerleader than your mum eh?! Thx.’ His name became searched more than a million times and people started approaching him for selfies.

But he put his notoriety to good use - raising awareness of mental health, funding youth centres and encouraging other young entrepreneurs. In December (2021), he encouraged Sheeran to record a new verse for a song he'd discovered by Nigerian artist Fireboy DML.

The track – ‘Peru’ – reached No.2 in the UK charts, giving the African star his first international hit.

Rapper Dave tweeted: "Thank you for everything ❤ words can't explain," while actor and director Adam Deacon posted: "Jamal was one of the nicest, most down to earth and humble men I've met in this industry. He always gave me time even when no-one else would."

Presenter and comedian Mo Gilligan tweeted: "A truly humble and blessed soul. Your legacy will live on for years & you've inspired a whole generation," while chart-topper AJ Tracey tweeting: "RIP Jamal Edwards, west London legend status".

Birmingham singer/rapper and presenter Lady Leshurr tweeted: "He gave me opportunity after opportunity to showcase my talent from Brum into London. We need to keep his name and brand alive."

Fellow-Birmingham star, 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."

Keeping his Birmingham connect strong, he was very close with fellow entrepreneur; singer/songwriter, producer and magazine founder, Mark Dwayne Gillespie, who he befriended and became associated with for some years now. Coming from different parts of the UK, they had a strong synergy and parallel path – and connection.

Further tweets continued Mobo Awards founder, Kanya King, tweeting: "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."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also said on Twitter: “British music and entertainment has lost one of its brightest stars".

Jamal wrote a book - described as a mix of a memoir and a business manual - called Self Belief: The Vision: How to Be a Success on Your Own Terms and also founded JE Delve, a grassroots charity that provides youth clubs as well as learning and work opportunities for young people in west London, where he grew up after he and his family moved there from Luton.

He worked with a handful of other youth charities and regularly made visits to speak to teenagers, including at both Acton High School and West London College where he had studied, to answer questions on business success and self-motivation.

No details were yet released about his death. He was 31.