A true music entertainment pioneer and UK culture shaper left the building on Sunday, and his passing has rocked the foundation of many in the UK music industry and beyond.
Last night it was confirmed that Youtube star and SBTV founder Jamal Edwards had passed away, aged 31. Tributes have been pouring in thick and fast following the news of his death.
The son of Loose Women star Brenda Edwards, Jamal was awarded an MBE for his services to music in 2014. Described by his mum as an “inspiration” and the “centre of [her] world”, she has confirmed that he died of a “sudden illness” over the weekend.
He is credited with helping to kick start the careers of huge artists like Skepta, Ed Sheeran, Dave and Jessie J through his Youtube channel, but his impact stretched much wider than that – touching many artists in Manchester and beyond.
As Despa Robinson, CEO and founder of Birmingham-based record company B£83 Music wrote in tribute: “He left the door open and 1000s of us ran through it.”
SBTV first launched in 2007 with a grainy video recording of a rap battle, filmed by Jamal on a college excursion to Cadbury’s chocolate factory in Birmingham. This DIY aesthetic would go on to define the channel in more ways than one.
Changing the career trajectory for a host of underground UK artists, SBTV helped to make artists ubiquitous at a time when urban music in the UK was changing rapidly and the industry just hadn’t caught up.
Instead of waiting to get airplay on the radio or for a label to sign them, artists could pave their own way by getting onto his Youtube – and they flocked to him.
SBTV wasn’t the only channel doing this – but it was very much up there. Over the years, Jamal’s Youtube featured a huge array of Mancunian up-and-comers including DRS, Tobi Sunmola, Bugzy Malone, Shotty Horroh, Skittles, MC Fox, Fumez, Chimpo, Blizzard, Lady Ice and many more.
As Manchester rapper Lady Ice put it: “Back then no one was really looking at us Manny artists and being a female was worse.”
“In 2014 Jamal Edwards was the first person that gave me an opportunity to hit a major platform. You believed in me.”
“You have done incredible things for the scene. A true pioneer. Fly high.”
Harnessing the power of Youtube before others had caught on, SBTV successfully undercut the traditional music industry trajectory and launched a whole new generation of urban artists to fame in a way that took the mainstream by surprise.
As Guardian columnist Kieran Yates wrote of Edwards back in 2017, “[he] enabled and emboldened artists to make the case that they had a real following. He legitimised the voices of the streets.”
Manchester rapper Blizzard has credited SBTV with shaping his career, but he has also spoken highly about him as a person too – tweeting about how he was there for him at his lowest ebb.
Further tributes from Manchester artists have come from Konny Kon and Tyler Daley of Children of Zeus, who this morning tweeted “We should all make an effort to tell people while they’re here what we think of them”.
Manchester rapper and producer Chimpo described him as a pioneer and gentleman, writing: “Rest Easy Jamal. All the success he had n legendary things he achieved, my man still had all the humbleness and enthusiasm in the world. A pioneer and a gentleman.”
And a Mancunian reporter for ITV, Jam Williams-Thomas, said: “This man did so much for grime and UK music. I grew up watching SBTV to see all the underrepresented artists of the scene. His grind is unmatched. A real inspiration and a huge, huge loss to the industry. Honoured to share first names with you. RIP Jamal Edwards.”
Manchester night tsar and Warehouse Project founder Sacha Lord tweeted: “RIP the nicest, loveliest guy in the industry, Jamal Edwards. Shocked and very very saddened, A legend.”
Manchester’s Thirty Pound Gentleman founder, Danny ‘Falz’ Fahey, wrote: “Jamal E Edwards is a pioneer and creator we can’t ever forget in our culture. Always with the self belief and encouragement for our young people, always close to the ground regardless of his remarkable success. Rest well.”
Dave tweeted: “Thank you for everything. Words can’t explain.”
Vernon Kay wrote: “Jamal Edwards. RIP. Always someone you were drawn to. Learnt so much from him every time we met…A pioneer and a generous dude. Shocked he’s gone.”
Feature image – Flickr
Family of murdered Salah Adam Eldin, 21, pay tribute to ‘beautiful son and true hero’
The family of Salah Adam Eldin, a 21-year-old stabbed to death in Old Trafford last week, have paid a heartbreaking tribute to a ‘genuine and loving soul’.
Salah sadly died on Wednesday 31 May after he was found with serious injuries on Kings Road.
A murder investigation has been launched, and 19-year-old Demari Adrian Raymond Rose has been charged with murder and possession of a bladed article.
Salah’s family have described him as ‘the backbone of the family’ and described his respectful, kind and caring nature.
They wrote that support has poured in from across the globe, saying that ‘he was so much to so many people’.
In a tribute issued through GMP, his family said: “Salah was the backbone of the family and carried the family through anything and everything. He was our precious, beautiful son and a true hero.
“He was a supportive brother and precious son, a most genuine and loving soul with a big heart. He always found space in his heart to forgive all.
“He was always respectful and had kind words to say for all, everyone who met him wanted to be friends with him and was respected by all people of all ages.
“We are immensely proud of him. The continuous tributes from his friends, as far and wide as Africa, North America, The Middle East, Europe and from every corner of the world as well as here at home in England, his friends coming with heavy hearts and tears of deep sadness.
“Yes, our heart is filled with grief and pain, the reality that we will no longer hear his voice on the end of the phone. We grieve and wait for the day that we will one day all be reunited as a family together again and it will be forever.
“As a family we are able to support one another with the help of the wonderful friends and family that we have in the community and beyond. The support has been immeasurable, with everyone suffering the same pain and loss of Salah. He was so much to so many people. His short time in this world, he has his legacy of being a kind and caring young man and so loved. The amount of people who have reached out to support us, it is overwhelming and yet wonderful at the same time.
“As a mother, I have no words to describe the depth of my pain, grief and sorrow that I am going through, and I wish no mother must experience the layers of sadness and grief that I and Salah’s siblings and family are going through.
“Our lives have changed forever and we thank Greater Manchester Police for doing all they can to get justice and who have been very supportive, and we thank endless stream of friends and the community from the bottom of our hearts for their continuous love and support that they give us.”
Salah’s family have asked for continued privacy while they grieve for their loss.
Featured image: GMP
Coronation Street legend Julie Goodyear diagnosed with dementia
Coronation Street legend Julie Goodyear, who famously played the iconic character Bet Lynch for over 25 years, has sadly been diagnosed with dementia.
Issuing a statement via ITV, her husband Scott Brand confirmed that they had been given the “heartbreaking diagnosis” this week.
Goodyear, 81, played the legendary Rovers Return pub landlord for over two decades across two different spells on the show, starting in 1966 before leaving the show for good in 1995.
Brand told the outlet on Wednesday: “Unfortunately, Julie has been suffering forgetfulness for some time and we have been seeking medical advice and assistance, but we now know that there is no hope of a reversal in the situation – and that her condition will get progressively, and perhaps speedily, worse.”
He went on to say that he and Goodyear “have taken the decision to publicly announce the diagnosis as Julie still loves visiting friends and eating out”, noting that she inevitably gets recognised “and fans love to meet her – and she them – but she can get confused particularly if she is tired” and adding they “hope people will understand.”
The Manc soap star and household name is from Heywood in Rochdale and retired from acting in 2003 after making her final special appearance on the Coronation Street spin-off, After Hours.