Black History Month: Jamal Edwards

#Black History Month #Jamal Edwards #Urban Development

From Topman shop floor assistant to becoming an MBE recipient, best-selling author, and a prominent figure and inspiration for Black British entrepreneurs in the past ten years, Jamal Edwards story so far...

Jamal Edwards has gone from working on the shop floor of Topman to being a Black British entrepreneur, MBE recipient, best-selling author, the man behind the camera and of course, the founder of the one and only online urban music platform SB.TV [Smokey Barz]. Edwards' platform is most recognised for launching and promoting a range of underground artists from the likes of Chip, Wretch32, Stormzy, Blade Brown, and more.

Edwards has significantly contributed to how black british music is discovered and consumed. His platform SBTV has published over 10,000 videos focusing heavily on UK Black music, from his popular freestyle series F64 and A64, to interviews, music videos by recognisable artists, Edwards has used his platform to do it all.

Edwards TV multimedia empire began after he got a camera for his 15th birthday from humble beginnings that many can relate to, certain opportunities are not handed on a silver plate. Teachers told the pioneer that he would "only be going to work in Safeways". It was at youth centres such as Bollo Brook and Friary Park, where Edwards was able to complete film courses and experiment with music studio equipment, thus feeling the need to create his own opportunities despite his limited resources.

Throughout his career, Edwards has accumulated a lengthy list of achievements that aren't to be overlooked. The man behind the camera and content-creating wiz, became one of the Queen's Young Leaders, in which he ran the first-ever social media hub at Buckingham Palace. In 2014 he was placed at no. 2 on The Guardian's Top 30 Young People in Digital Media in 2014 whilst simultaneously achieving an MBE for services to music in 2015. He's participated in collaborations with Burberry, Puma, BAFTA, YouTube, Cannes Lions, TedX, MTV, The Prince's Trust and Topman. Edwards was selected by officials from 10 Downing Street to help curate music for The Bill Clinton Foundation. 

Once a kid from the community who is now a self-made entrepreneur, Edwards continuously makes efforts to give back to his community. By obtaining funding from Google and the Wellcome Trust in 2019 Edwards successfully founded The Jamal Edwards Delve (JED) a grassroots youth-centre project. In October 2019, Edwards refurbished and revived four youth-centres based in Acton, London and since then had over 150 people engaged in activities across the four centres.