Music entrepreneur Jamal Edwards’ mum Brenda has paid tribute to her son on what would have been his 32nd birthday.
The YouTube star, who helped launch the careers of artists including Ed Sheeran, Dave and Jessie J, died suddenly at home in Acton, west London, in February.
Ahead of a fundraising celebration to mark his birthday, TV presenter and stage star Brenda Edwards told Sky News it was a “bittersweet day”.
“It has only been six months and it’s been a hard six months for myself, his sister and the family and his close friends,” she said. “But we feel that we have to do something to celebrate.”
Born in Luton, Jamal grew up on a council estate and went on to be appointed an MBE for services to music as well as an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, which helps young people set up their own businesses.
His online urban music platform SBTV helped dozens of UK artists rise to prominence over the years.
Acts including Big Narstie, Mist and Fleur East are due to perform at the SBTV “mega cook-up” to mark what would have been his birthday on Wednesday, with surprise guest performances also promised.
Following Jamal’s death, many music stars including Sheeran paid tribute. In July, the Shape Of You star released the video for Are You Entertained, a collaboration with US rapper Russ, which had been planned by his late friend.
“I wish Jam was here to see it, I wish we’d done it together, but he would be buzzing how all his people came together and brought his vision to life,” Sheeran said at the time.
“Ed and Jamal’s relationship has gone for many, many, many years and I’m just really grateful,” Brenda said. “Ed’s been so supportive. There has been so much support from all around, so I’m really grateful for everything.”
She said the birthday event was about celebrating her son’s life “in the best way that we know how [as] music was one of the ways that he tried to bring everybody together”.
She added: “It’s going to be a bittersweet day but I’m smiling thinking about him as well as the sad emotion that I’ve obviously got…
“I know he’s going to be looking down watching us.”
Earlier in August, a coroner concluded that Edwards died after taking cocaine and suffering cardiac arrhythmia.
Following his death, his mother warned others of the dangers of taking recreational drugs, saying in a statement: “It’s so important that we drive more conversation about the unpredictability of recreational drugs.
“Jamal is proof that this can happen to anyone. His passing has shown that one bad decision on any one occasion can lead to devastating consequences.”
Proceeds from the birthday fundraiser will go to the Jamal Edwards Self Belief Trust, which was set up in his memory to help combat homelessness, support people with mental health issues, and provide life skills to young people in need.