Verge Meets Jamal Edwards

This week we had the pleasure of picking the brain of Jamal Edwards.  Edwards is a British entrepreneur, author, and founder of SBTV. His work within the music industry and with SBTV earned him an MBE back in 2014.

In 2019 Edwards founded Jamal Edwards Delve (JED) a grassroots youth-centre project. Today, he talks with us about how he got started, his passion for helping others and the Adobe x JE Delve programme.

 

You’ve had a very successful career, can you tell us a bit more about how you got started and where the idea for SBTV came from?

I was given a camera for Christmas when I was 15 and began filming friends and around the estate where I lived. After realising the frustrations from so many friends and emerging artists trying to break into the industry, I thought there was a gap in the market online and SBTV was born. YouTube had only launched a couple years before and as the platform grew, so did SBTV which was amazing.

Your book “Self Belief: The Vision: How To Be a Success on Your Own Terms” was a massive hit, have you always been passionate about helping others?

I always try and share my contacts, give advice and help people as much as possible. That’s why I launched my youth initiative JE Delve (Jamal Edwards Delve) in 2019. It’s a grassroots youth charity based in Ealing but we’re hoping to expand soon to give opportunities to more people across the UK. Its important to me that young people feel they can connect with others and develop their skills in an environment where they are encouraged and nurtured.

Talk us through the Adobe x JE Delve programme, who does it involve and what does it consist of?

Over the course of a year, I’m partnering with Adobe to give opportunities to young creators. Through the video series, you will see the young creators learning and honing their skills in different creative fields from lighting, sound, production and more.  All the creators involved have access to Adobe creative cloud to help enhance their learning, alongside workshops with industry experts. It’s great to see their individual journeys and how much they are enjoying the process, whilst learning new skills along the way.

Can you explain why ‘creativity for all’ is so important for you and Adobe?

Creativity is something everyone has within them, no matter their age, background, circumstances – it just needs to be unlocked. I think there’s a misconception that only people in typically creative fields, such as an artist or a musician have those skills but it’s so much bigger than that. It’s about finding out what your passions are. That’s why this project means so much to me as with the help of Adobe, it gives people the help to take their creativity and passions to the next level.

Do you think it is hard to break into the creative industry? What advice would you give to someone looking to startup?

I think it’s all down to someone’s passion, determination and willingness to learn. It’s taking advice, listening and learning from the skills of others and trying to network/collaborate with others too.  Social media has massively changed the way that people can break into the industry, it has opened a lot of doors and helped towards leveling the playing field.  That wasn’t available in the same way when I started SBTV, and I’m excited to see these changes.  

Can you talk about the importance of more diversity in the creative industry and why you are so motivated to inspire people to reach their potential?

Diversity is something that is so important to me – I’m passionate that there should be no limitations for anyone, in any industry.  We’ve seen huge improvements in this area and amazing work is being done creating apprenticeship schemes and mentoring opportunities that help drive and identify young diverse talent.  We still have a long way to go though and that keeps me energised, there’s work to be done!