Starting out in 2006 as an MC and youth broadcaster under the moniker Smokey Barz, Jamal Edward’s journey with SBTV was a significant one. What initially began as Jamal recording and sharing his college friends’ bars turned into a multilayered YouTube channel of international talent and renown, helping to launch the careers of artists such as Ed Sheeran, Stormzy and Dave in the process. After growing a dedicated audience, and passing multiple subscriber landmarks, Jamal was able to branch out into other areas of music and expand SBTV’s scope, going on to partner with Soundcloud and launching the 8BARS app. In 2019, he also founded JE Delve, a charity based in Ealing, with the goal of helping young people to “learn, work and connect.”
Jamal’s influence was not just resigned to music, though – his impact was felt far and wide across the creative industries. On Twitter – among a sea of anecdotal tributes – presenter and gaming aficionado Julia Hardy, spoke of Jamal’s impact on the gaming industry; while The Guardian columnist Owen Jones, mentioned a shared project for TV in which Jamal encouraged young people to vote.
It’s clear that Jamal’s impact will be felt for many years to come. Below, we’re sharing five essential lessons inspired by what was undoubtedly a prolific and culture-shifting career. And as similar tributes continue to pour in, we send our warmest condolences to Brenda Edwards, and Jamal’s family and friends.