Jamal Edwards, MBE established SBTV the online music platform when he was 15 years old after he was given a camera as a present by his parents and started filming and uploading videos to YouTube of his friends rapping on the estate he grew up in Acton, West London. Since 2006, Jamal has grown his youth broadcasting channel, SBTV, from the inner confines of his bedroom into a renowned brand with global reach.
Having gone from building the YouTube channel to curating stages at Bestival and Wireless, from filming on British housing estates to recording interviews from 10 Downing Street to the Bermuda Triangle, Edwards can now boast an expanding business portfolio and a solid reputation that sees him inspiring a new wave of digital entrepreneurs who have adopted his #SelfBelief tactics.
Encapsulating the DIY ethos of the underground music scene that inspired the teen to pick up a camera in the first place, Jamal Edwards was – and still is – responsible for documenting the rise of a new breed of previously ignored video stars. Early nods of approval came from Richard Branson and Simon Cowell, but now SBTV, the first new media business on YouTube, can boast a subscriber base of over 752,000 with over 435 million views.
Having gone from working on the shop floor of Topman to being the face of a collaborative range in store with American Freshman, to being awarded an MBE for services to music in 2015, as well as releasing a best selling book and fronting a Google Chrome Advert alongside Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, and then of course boasting an a-list filled photo collection including a selfie with Prince Willaim and Harry, an image that went from Jamal’s Twitter to the pages of Vanity Fair and Vogue – its fair to call him the millennial’s hero of the DIY entrepreneurialism.
Becoming something of a regular in royal circles, Jamal was honoured when he became one of the Queen’s Young Leaders, after being called upon to run the first ever social media hub at Buckingham Palace. Achievements like this saw Jamal placed at no. 2 in The Guardian’s top 30 young people in digital media 2014. He’s graced the covers of Intelligent Life, Wired and the Emirates Airline in-flight magazine while also frequenting the pages of publications from GQ, Dazed and Q to Forbes and Time. Not bad for a boy whose content is primarily consumed by teenagers around the world.
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