Jamal Edwards, one of the UK music scene's most legendary pioneers, an entrepreneur, and founder of SBTV has passed away aged 31.
Last night the UK was sent into shock as the sudden passing of Jamal Edwards was announced, with a flood of the industry's biggest artists taking to social media to pay their respects.
Born in my hometown of Luton, Jamal was appointed an MBE for his services to music back in 2014. The award followed 8 years of championing UK music with the founding of SBTV in November of 2006, catapulting the careers of artists like Dave, J Hus, Ed Sheeran, and Skepta.
The platform was launched at the dawn of Youtube when Grime and UK Rap were massively underrepresented both at home and overseas, making it a crucial part of the scene's worldwide recognition, ecosystem, and evolution.
In the 16 years since it went online, beginning with a camera that Edwards' mother gifted him for his birthday, the channel has amassed 1.22M subscribers and featured everyone from D Double E to Capo Lee, P Money, Potter Payper, and AJ Tracey.
Many of those that featured on the channel, especially within its formative years, have gone on to achieve huge mainstream success, and as their music has gone on to cross borders, with it has come international respect for the scene.
Beyond his work as the head of SBTV, Jamal was a tireless charity worker, leading to his appointment as an ambassador for the Prince's Trust, a charity run by the Prince of Wales to support young people in establishing their own businesses. All the while, he helped support the funding of youth centers, raised awareness for mental health, and continued to be one of the UK music scene's most respected names.
The board of JE Delve, a grassroots youth charity founded by Edwards, shared the following statement: "Jamal was a giant. He left a huge impression on everyone he met, with his infectious energy and optimism. His contribution to UK music, entrepreneurship, and culture, through the barrier-breaking SB.TV, is clearly undeniable.
To JE Delve, Jamal is more than just a founder. He was present in the daily life of the charity that he set up in the neighbourhood in which he grew up, which bears his name. Jamal has influenced and changed the lives of many young people, including those that he met directly through sessions at our youth centres over the past few years.
Jamal's #SELFBELIEF mantra runs through our DNA. His life is proof that we are defined only by the ambitions we set for ourselves and the contribution we make to the lives of others. Everyone at JE Delve, from the Trustees to the youth workers, will do our best to preserve his immeasurable legacy, especially in Acton where he put down so many roots.
May he rest in power, and may his incredible contribution live on through the work which he began at JE Delve."
As the country mourns, Jamal's impact on not only music but black culture in the UK as a whole has been laid bare, showing just how immeasurable his contributions have been.