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Ed Sheeran pays heartfelt tribute to Jamal Edwards

"I would not be here without him"

By Joe Goggins

Ed Sheeran wears a blue velvet suit and dark blue tie against the BRIT Awards backdrop
Ed Sheeran (Photo: Rolling Stone UK)

Ed Sheeran has paid an emotional tribute to the late SBTV founder Jamal Edwards, after he died earlier this month at just 31.

Edwards’ online video platform helped launch the careers of a number of major artists, Sheeran included. Beginning with grime, but branching out into other genres, Edwards built SBTV as a teenager, and over the years filmed and posted content from artists like Stormzy, Dave, Jessie J, Krept & Konan, Rita Ora, Emeli Sandé and Bugzy Malone.

He also interviewed the likes of Drake and Nicki Minaj for the channel, and would branch out into the fashion world as well as be honoured with an MBE for his philanthropic work. He died last Sunday (February 20), after suffering his mother called a “sudden illness”. Now, Sheeran has become the latest collaborator to add his own to an avalanche of tributes.

On Instagram, he posted an old photograph of the pair together, wearing matching ‘The Grime University’ hoodies. In the caption, Sheeran wrote: “I haven’t posted anything coz I can’t find the words, I can’t reply coz 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.”

Sheeran’s emotional message continued: “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. 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.”

He concluded the post with “my brother, come on.” On Monday night (February 21), a candlelit vigil was held on Acton High Street in West London, in front of a mural of Edwards, as local fans paid tribute. “He was the hero of Acton,” a fan called Zachary Thomas told the BBC. “He was the guy who showed you could make it out without… getting involved in crime or anything.” 

Another, Sam Borelli, added: “Jamal was the guy that showed kids from low-income households that you are not limited to what your grades might tell you. He made the musicians that made me, if you know what I mean, with a camera he got for Christmas.”