Ed Sheeran Shared A Moving Tribute To “Brother” Jamal Edwards

“I would not be here without him.”

Originally Published: 
Ed Sheeran and Jamal Edwards, respectively, attending press events
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The music world is paying tribute to Jamal Edwards following the announcement of his untimely passing. The pioneer and icon of Black music was just 31 years old. Earlier, his mother, Loose Women panellist Brenda Edwards, shared a statement asking for privacy to grieve, and remembering her son’s enormous achievements. "Jamal was an inspiration to myself and so many,” she wrote. “Our love for him lives on, his legacy lives on.”

Born in Luton, and raised in Acton, West London, the music entrepreneur founded the hugely influential online video platform SB.TV when he was just fifteen, using the channel to share freestyle raps filmed on a camcorder. Championing Black British artists whilst the mainstream industry turned the other way, Edwards pioneered an alternative approach to the music scene — bringing friendship, collaboration, DIY values, and Black voices to the forefront.

After founding SB.TV in 2006, Edwards single-handedly documented the best of the emerging UK grime scene. Dave, Skepta, Stormzy, Krept & Konan, and Ghetts — now major names in rap — all got their early breaks on the music channel. In 2010, a fresh-faced Ed Sheeran performed “You Need Me, I Don't Need You” on SB.TV, long before his debut album turned him into a star. Edwards has been credited with helping to launch all of these artists’ careers.

Ten years ago a video in collaboration with Google Chrome showcased Edwards’ tireless work at SB.TV, and two years later, he was awarded an MBE for his remarkable achievements in music and business.

A pre-debut album Ed Sheeran performed on SB.TV twelve years ago
Dave, who later won the prestigious Mercury Prize for his debut album ‘Psychodrama’, featured on SB.T.V when he was just seventeen.

Today, Edwards’ friends and collaborators are sharing their memories of him, and paying tribute to his dedication to platforming talented new artists. “Heartbroken to hear this,” Dua Lipa wrote in an Instagram story. “RIP Jamal. My thoughts are with all his friends and family and the many people’s lives he has touched and brought together. Gone way too soon.” Meanwhile, Edwards’ mum’s Loose Women colleague, Stacey Solomon, said: “One of the greatest, kindest, most sincere, and humble people I ever had the pleasure of meeting. Just devastating. My thoughts and prayers are with Brenda, Tanisha, and all of Jamal’s loved ones.

Taking to Instagram, songstress Jessie J — who appeared alongside Edwards on Celebrity Gogglebox — shared a behind-the-scenes video from their time filming the show. Alongside it, she wrote: “Your light. Your ideas. Your love for your Mum and sister. Your work ethic. Your dedication to making a difference, not just in this industry, but in this world. Your laugh. Your laugh. Your care for every person you met was unmatched. But your friendship… Phew. That’s why my heart is broken. We had plans, bro. I can’t believe this is real.I love you.”

Ed Sheeran, a close friend and collaborator of Edwards, has now also shared a meaningful tribute online. Interestingly, Edwards’ last Instagram update, posted a few days before his death, was a birthday message for Sheeran, commemorating their years-long friendship.

Alongside a throwback picture of himself and Edwards, Sheeran wrote: “I haven’t posted anything, because I can’t find the words. I can’t reply, because I don’t know what to say. Jamal is my brother.”

“His light shone so bright. He only used it to illuminate others and never asked for anything in return. A stars light shines for millions of years after they go, and his will continue to light up every dark moment, we are all witnessing his power.”

Showcasing his gratitude for Edwards’ support over the years, Sheeran added: “I would not be here without him, professionally and personally. There will never be anything close to what he is, but I’m so grateful to have existed within his orbit. My brother, come on.”

Below, more of Edwards’ admirers pay tribute to his legacy.

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