Media mogul Jamal Edwards, 24, holding his MBE award outside Buckingham Palace
The name Jamal Edwards is now familiar to most in the UK. The 24-year-old, who has written a book, is close friends with Richard Branson, is a multi-millionaire, is an ambassador for Prince Charles’s Prince’s Trust and has rubbed shoulders with Princes Harry and William, can now add being awarded an MBE to his remarkable achievements to date.
Edwards’ story is inspiring. It all began for the young entrepreneur at the age of fifteen when his parents gave him a simple video camera as a present. Edwards, who loved grime music and the associated underground music scene, began filming his friends rapping and singing and uploaded the videos onto YouTube, which at the time was still a relatively new media platform.
The rest, as they say, is history. Edwards’ YouTube videos began to earn him significant money (large viewing numbers meant substantial advertising revenue) and SBTV became a popular music channel in its own right, giving a platform to talented upcoming artists who hadn’t yet had a big break (Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora and Jessie J are among the superstars who Edwards helped reach stardom by publicising in their early days).
After receiving his honour from the Queen on Thursday, Edwards published a blog post on the SBTV website which reads:
‘Thursday, 26th March 2015 and today I received my MBE, which has had me thinking… this is all so surreal. Being awarded an MBE has really made me think about EVERYTHING. From why I started SBTV, to what I thought I would achieve by starting it. As most of you know, I like to keep it real. As a child I never thought I would be an innovator or a businessman, the one thing I was, though, was passionate. I woke up this morning thinking, “How do I get everyone to get an MBE?”, and that made me think about what I have actually done to deserve such an accolade.
The one thing I would like to say to aspiring entrepreneurs, and just generally anyone who wants to turn their passion into their living, is: it’s not easy and, to be honest, you can’t focus on the money. If you want to do it, you just have to do it. I honestly believe you have to make sacrifices to make your dreams come true. It’s funny how a gift for Christmas and some curiosity has led me to where I am today, being awarded an MBE. MAD TING!
I wouldn’t be where I am today without my team from the early days, young driven individuals who had big dreams and big visions for SBTV. They have all moved on now and I wish I had been a little more informed on business because I never wanted to lose them but, in the same breath, I am glad for what it taught me, the realities of running a business.
This MBE is not about me, it’s about them as well. Because, without them, I wouldn’t be here today. So I would like to take this moment to thank all of the people that have previously worked at SBTV for their talent, passion and dedication […] thank you all so much, this is for you guys too.
This MBE for me is a symbol of what Self Belief can get you and I would like to dedicate it to you guys because without you none of this would have been possible. Remember, Don’t Watch Me, Watch SBTV! Let’s make Great Britain the greatest nation on Earth.’