ROYAL HONOUR: 24-year-old entrepreneur Jamal Edwards
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR and founder of youth broadcasting channel SB.TV Jamal Edwards will be awarded with an MBE from the Queen in the New Year Honours list.
The 24-year-old Londoner, known for revolutionising the UK music scene and discovering some of the biggest talent, including Ed Sheeran, will pick up the medal for his services to music in a 2015 ceremony.
In a statement posted on Facebook, he said: "I'm honoured to be one of the youngest people awarded with an MBE...Never in a million years did I ever think I would receive such an accolade. For me this is about us - the youth.
"With so much negativity around us it's hard sometimes to stay positive and fight for your dreams. When I started my YouTube channel I was working at Topman, I worked there for four years investing in myself. The world won't help you, I learnt that early, you have to help yourself, you have to invest [in] yourself to better your life.
"This too, means that we, the youth, actually can change the world, you just have to be proactive then the world will notice you when the time is right. I am over the moon to be honoured for my contributions to music. Honestly, people, anything is possible if you stay dedicated. I was forced to carve my own path, taking an untraditional route, part of a digital culture rewriting the rules [and] breaking down barriers."
Dubbed the 'Simon Cowell of grime music', Edwards founded SB.TV, named after his rapping moniker Smokey Barz, in 2006 as a platform to push the UK grime scene.
The online channel, which also hosts lifestyle interviews and event coverage, now boasts over 150 million YouTube hits and over 215,000 channel subscribers.
The self-made multimillionaire, who grew up on an Acton council estate in west London, is also an ambassador for MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation.
Talking to Young Voices editor Dionne Grant last year about his success, Edwards claimed “self-belief is the main ingredient".
He added: “I'm a rebel at heart. When people say 'no' I do it anyway because I know I can. That's why self-belief is so important.
"Of course I get worried when I launch something new. I wonder if it will connect with my audience, but it's important not to dwell on that and go full steam ahead.”