Jamal Edwards

Jamal Edwards, MBE is a British entrepreneur, author, and the founder of the online urban music platform SB.TV. Born in Luton, England on 24 August 1990, Edwards spent his early years there before moving to Acton, West London where he lived with his mother Brenda, stepfather Patrick and younger sister, Tanisha.[1]

Jamal Edwards

Jamal Edwards Le Monde d'Hermès .jpg
Jamal Edwards at Le Monde d'Hermès on 12 September 2019
Born (1990-08-24) 24 August 1990 (age 30)
Luton, Bedfordshire, England
Years active2006–present
Known forFounder of SB.TV
Parent(s)Brenda Edwards (mother)

In 2019 Edwards set up Jamal Edwards Delve, a project aimed at refurbishing and reopening youth centres.[2]

Early lifeEdit

As a child he was introduced to stage school by his mother Brenda Edwards, who placed fourth in the second series of The X Factor. His mother wanted him to pursue acting and drama, however he aspired to be successful in the music industry.[3] He attended Acton High School[4] and enjoyed subjects ICT and music.[5] However, he struggled to attain the grades he needed for college, and as a result, had to study for an extra year.[3] He then attended Ealing College where he received a BTEC Diploma in Media Moving Image.[4] During his school years, he started rapping and would film videos with his friends that would then be posted on YouTube. These videos would eventually become his business and the beginning of SBTV.[6] Edwards worked the retail chain Topman for 4 years whilst he ran SBTV in order to financially support himself.[7]



Edwards is the founder of SBTV – an online media platform to discover emerging artists.[8] It launched in 2006 and has helped to launch the careers of many artists including Ed Sheeran.[9] As of 2019, the SBTV YouTube channel boasts over 1 million subscribers.[10]

Jamal Edwards (far right) at the Creative Entrepreneurs Launch at 10 Downing Street

When Edwards was 15, he was gifted a video camera. He began to film friends on his estate, rapping and performing and would upload them to his YouTube channel.[citation needed] From there, he created the channel SBTV and uploaded all subsequent videos there. Edwards' rap name at the time was 'SmokeyBarz' which owes to the acronym SB in the channels title.[8] After he left school, he worked at clothing company, Topman whilst continuing to make videos for his channel. His videos began to increase in popularity with the views in the hundred-thousands. As this happened, he was able to quit Topman and solely focus on SBTV. Initially, the main focus for the channel's content was the grime dance music scene, however Edwards expanded this and began to explore other musical genres.[11]

Edwards started to film artists ahead of their emergence to mainstream markets, such as filming Jessie J's first acoustic video outside of her personal YouTube channel.[12] Edwards soon developed a reputation for capturing music artists before they gained widespread popularity such as Stormzy, Ed Sheeran, Dave, Emeli Sandé, Rita Ora, Krept & Konan, Yungen, Mic Righteous, Nines, Tori Kelly, Bugzy Malone, Mist, English Frank, Aaron Unknown and Cadet.[13]

SB.TV filmed the first online interviews for notable US talent including Bruno Mars, Trey Songz, Janelle Monáe and Tyler, the Creator.

In 2011, SBTV was featured in a Google Chrome advert. The ad caused the SBTV site to crash due to the traffic it was gaining and became the second-most popular UK YouTube video that year.[14]

In 2016, SBTV linked with the youth-focused news service, Press Association to expand into more of a mainstream multichannel video.[15] Over the years Edwards constructed collaborations with some of the world's biggest stars, conducting the first online UK-based interviews with Drake, Nicki Minaj and Wiz Khalifa.[16]


As well as his online platform, Edwards released a headwear collection on Topman (his previous place of employment) with American Freshman. The collection featured a limited editions of snapbacks and bucket hats that were designed by Edwards himself.[17] As part of the GQ Heroes series in 2019, Edwards hosted an open forum discussion with Adwoa Aboah on mental health.[18] Edwards walked in the Hermès:Step into the Frame catwalk show at London's Nine Elms.[19]

In 2019, Kurt Geiger revealed Edwards as one of the faces of its 'Characterful Style' campaign for AW19.[20] Later that year, Edwards was also announced as one of the faces of the Primark AW19 collection, celebrating 50 years of the brand.[21]


In 2013, Edwards released an ebook, 'Self Belief: The Vision: How To Be a Success on Your Own Terms'. His book achieved success and was the number 1 bestselling ebook series according to iBooks.[22]


In 2019, Edwards directed the Chelsea FC remix video of grime artist Capo Lee's 'Style and Swag'. The video featured players including Callum Hudson Odoi, Ruben Loftus Cheek, Ngolo Kante, Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi.[23]

Jamal Edwards Delve (JED)Edit

Securing funding from Google and the Wellcome Trust,[24] in 2019 Edwards founded Jamal Edwards Delve (JED) a grassroots youth-centre project. As of October 2019, Edwards has refurbished and reopened four youth-centres in Acton.[2] As of December 2020, more than 150 people have engaged across the four centres.[25]


In 2018, Edwards was announced as the first ambassador for Mercedes Benz X-Class, through his ambassadorship Edwards launched his own YouTube series JE:SELF-BELIEF and JE:WHAT'S YOUR DRIVE. Edwards is keen to inspire other creatives and entrepreneurs through his vlogs, exploring the challenges and dreams of a true entrepreneur of the digital native era. The vlogs will present an unparalleled insight into Edwards's busy life, featuring artists, broadcasters, filmmakers, social influencers and more as he travels around London and the UK showing off his pick-up truck.[26]

In 2020, Edwards announced a partnership with the Department for Education, a three-part campaign encouraging young creatives to consider undertaking an apprenticeship. The partnership involved the grime MC P Money.[27]

Honours and awardsEdit

  • Edwards was awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours list in 2014 from Elizabeth II, for his work in music and his business, SBTV.[28]
  • Edwards featured in the ES Power 1000 – London's most influential people 2013: Deal makers, Tycoons.[29]
  • In 2014, Edwards was listed as number 2 in The Guardian's 'The top 30 young people in digital media'.[30]
  • On 12 September 2014, TIME Magazine named Edwards as one of their 'Next Generation Leaders'[31]
  • In 2015, Edwards was awarded the Best New StartUp from Virgin Media and Virgin StartUp.[32]
  • Also in 2015, Edwards was named in Debrett's list of the 500 most influential people in Britain in the New Media section alongside YouTube vloggers Zoella and Alfie Deyes.[33]
  • In May 2016 the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) inducted Edwards into its Hall of Fame. Edwards was recognised for his contributions to the online music industry for creating the SB.TV music platform.[34]
  • Also in 2016, Edwards was named in GQ Magazine's 100 Most Connected Men of All Time.[35]
  • Edwards was named as one of the Maserati 100 in 2016, a partnership with The Sunday Times to recognise one hundred game-changing entrepreneurs who are innovators in the business world.[36]
  • Edwards was chosen to be the ambassador for the youth charity, The Prince's Trust in 2013. The charity is run by Prince Charles to help young people to set up their own businesses.[11]
  • Edwards has received an honorary MBA from Luton & Bedfordshire University.[37]

Entrepreneurial, philanthropic and mentor workEdit

In 2014, Edwards helped launch the Queen's Young Leaders Programme with an image of Edwards, Prince William and Prince Harry captured by a Twitter mirror.[38]

Edwards also works to raise awareness surrounding mental health. In March 2017, he made a documentary with The Guardian about male suicide where he spoke to his childhood friends who suffer with mental health.[39] Later that year, Edwards continued his work and explored mental health in the music industry.[40] Edwards filmed another documentary titled 'Jamal Edwards explores mental health in the music industry' and posted it on SBTV.

Edwards has been open about his own struggles stating in an interview with Music Week 'Anxiety comes over me at the most random times. I wanted to create awareness. As much as music is my entry point, I feel a responsibility to talk about these other issues. I wanted to get people talking to each other and they have been, I'm happy."[40]

As well as his documentary work, Edwards has collaborated with the mental health charity CALM, and has written a column which discusses the issue for the online site, The Book of Man.[41]


  1. ^ Munday, Matt (26 February 2017). "Jamal Edwards: YouTube's grime reaper". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b Iqbal, Nosheen (3 November 2019). "Jamal Edwards gives back to youth clubs that helped his career". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Jamal Edwards interview: The online music entrepreneur on Richard Branson, bike races and living like a caveman".
  4. ^ a b "Entrepreneur Uncovered: Jamal Edwards".
  5. ^ "How I became a millionaire at 22".
  6. ^ "Who is Jamal Edwards".
  7. ^ "From Topman to top man: Jamal Edwards and SB.TV are booming".
  8. ^ a b Kieran Yates. "10 years of SBTV: the YouTube channel that undercut the music industry | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Jamal Edwards- the boy from Acton who made a media empire by 22 | Metro News". Metro.co.uk. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  10. ^ "SBTV: Music". YouTube. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Jamal Edwards: Amateur film-maker turned multimillionaire – BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. 11 November 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Jamal Edwards: 'Award helps me focus on the future' – BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. 30 December 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  13. ^ "We're The Do-It-Yourself Generation | HuffPost UK". Huffingtonpost.co.uk. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  14. ^ https://londonlovesbusiness.com/hes-22-worth-6m-and-pals-with-branson-meet-jamal-edwards/
  15. ^ Mark Sweney. "YouTube video channel SBTV links with PA for youth news service | Media". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  16. ^ Williams, Henry (15 February 2016). "Who is Jamal Edwards?". Startups.co.uk. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Jamal Edwards". TOPMAN. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  18. ^ "Adwoa Aboah & Jamal Edwards: '84% of men bottle up their emotions'". British GQ. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  19. ^ "Jamal Edwards MBE attends 'Hermes: Step into The Frame' at Nine Elms..." Getty Images. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  20. ^ "Emeli Sandé and Jamal Edwards revealed as new faces of Kurt Geiger for Autumn Winter 19 | Brilliant Brighton". Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  21. ^ "Primark Interviews Influencer Cast | Primark UK". www.primark.com. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  22. ^ "Self Belief: The Vision by Jamal Edwards". Waterstones. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  23. ^ "Behind The Scenes: Capo Lee & Jamal Edwards Share The Story of the Chelsea FC 'Style & Swag' Remix". Gaffer.
  24. ^ "YouTube star Jamal Edwards opens youth centre". BBC.
  25. ^ "Jamal Edwards: 'Stormzy came to Acton all the way from Croydon to be on SBTV'". British GQ. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  26. ^ "Jamal Edwards Teams Up With Mercedes". Voice Online. 25 June 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  27. ^ "Department for Education partners Jamal Edwards for creative series". www.campaignlive.co.uk. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  28. ^ "Music boss Jamal Edwards gets New Year Honours – BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  29. ^ "The Power 1000 – London's most influential people 2013: Deal makers,". Evening Standard. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  30. ^ The Guardian digital trainees. "The top 30 young people in digital media: Nos 10–1 | Media". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  31. ^ London, Mirren Gidda /. "Jamal Edwards got his first video camera when was 15". TIME.com. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  32. ^ "Jamal Edwards – one of our original VMPs – awarded MBE in New Years Honors list". Virgin Media. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  33. ^ Watson, Leon (25 January 2015). "Zoella and Alfie feature in Debrett's 500 most influential people in Britain". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  34. ^ "SBTV creator and Candy Crush company chief exec inducted into the BIMA Hall of Fame". The Drum. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  35. ^ "Who are the 100 Most Connected Men in 2016?". GQ. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  36. ^ "FIFE ENTREPRENEUR MAKES THE MASERATI 100 LIST". Business Gateway Fife. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  37. ^ "He's scaled SBTV from side hustle to media destination and now Jamal Edwards is giving back". Elite Business.
  38. ^ "Princes William and Harry launch Queen's Young Leaders Programme – ITV News". Itv.com. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  39. ^ "Jamal Edwards breaks taboos around men's mental health – video | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  40. ^ a b Homewood, Ben (6 December 2017). "'I wanted to create awareness': SBTV founder Jamal Edwards opens up about mental health in the music industry | Media". Music Week. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  41. ^ "Jamal Edwards MBE introduces his new column". The Book of Man. Retrieved 27 February 2019.