Pretty Okafor is a name that resonates with many Nigerians who love music and entertainment.
He is the current president of the Performing Musicians Employers’ Association of Nigeria (PMAN), the umbrella body of all musicians and entertainers in the country.
He has been reelected for another four-year term as PMAN president, a testament to his leadership and vision for the industry.
But how did he get to this position of influence and respect? What are the challenges and achievements that have shaped his career and personality? This will be explored showing the rise and rise of Pretty Okafor, from his humble beginnings as a young DJ to his success as a musician, entrepreneur, and currently reelected PMAN President.
The Early Years
Pretty Okafor was born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1970 in Lagos into a Royale family. He grew up in a musical family, and developed a passion for music at an early age, accompanied same with dancing.
He attended The Yaba College of Technology, where he studied fine arts and was active in the arts activities amongst others.
Pretty’s first exposure to the entertainment industry was as a DJ. He started spinning records at parties and events when he was 13 years old. He soon became popular among his peers and clients, who nicknamed him “Pretty Boy”. He says he was inspired by the likes of Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Kurtis Blow, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince, King Sunny Ade, Sonny Okosun amongst others.
The Rise & Rise Of Pretty Okafor
The Junior & Pretty Era
In 1988, Pretty Okafor teamed up with another young DJ, Junior Okechukwu Azike, to form a musical duo called Junior & Pretty. They pioneered a new genre of music called Afro-hip-hop from which the now globally popular Afrobeats emerged. This style blended traditional Nigerian rhythms with pidgin rap and hip-hop beats.
They released their debut album, Monika under the Obi Asika and Olisa Adibua managed Storm Records, in 1991, which featured the hit single “Monica”.
The song was a sensation in Nigeria and beyond, as it captured the social realities and aspirations of the youth. It also introduced a new slang term, “funkified”, which means to be stylish and trendy.
Junior & Pretty became one of the most successful & celebrated musical acts in Nigeria in the early 1990s. They released two more albums: Bolanle and Fatima (1994), Big Sound (1997), under Polygram Records.
They won several awards and accolades, including the Nigerian Music Awards (NMA), Fame Music Awards (FMA), and PMAN Awards. They also performed at various local and international events, such as the Black Heritage Festival, Lekki Sunsplash, Rapmania and Benson & Hedges Golden Tones concerts
The Entrepreneurial Spirit
Pretty Okafor was not only a talented musician but also a savvy businessman. He established his own record label, Pretty Boy Entertainment (PBE), in 1995 producing several upcoming artists and also diversified into other aspects of entertainment, such as event management, marketing communication, advertising, and public relations. He worked with several corporate clients, such as MTN, Guinness, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle, BAT and Nigerian Breweries.
Pretty Okafor also invested in real estate, hospitality, and other areas owning several properties around the country.
The PMAN Presidency
Pretty Okafor’s involvement in PMAN dates back to 2014, he was instrumental in resolving some of the conflicts and crises that plagued PMAN over the years. He also advocated for the welfare and rights of musicians and entertainers in Nigeria.
In 2016, Pretty Okafor contested for the PMAN national presidency against several other aspirants. He emerged victorious after securing the support of most of the state chapters and stakeholders of PMAN. He was sworn in as the president on October 4th, 2016.
His main agenda was to restructure PMAN to make it more effective and efficient. He also aimed to improve the quality and standard of music production and distribution in Nigeria. He initiated several projects and programs to achieve these goals.
Some of his notable achievements as PMAN president include: Launching the PMAN Biometric ID Card project in partnership with Zenith Bank Plc.
The project aims to capture data of PMAN members for effective administration and identification. It also provides access to various benefits and services, such as health insurance, life insurance, pension plans, and worldwide music distribution.
Purchasing the Nigerian Music House PMAN National Headquarters where events like the PMAN hangout are held to bring together PMAN members and the first Ever PMAN Radio station and to allow other stakeholders to network, socialize, and exchange ideas. The event also features performances by various artists and comedians.
Partnering with GoCreate a digital music distribution platform that helps PMAN members and other musicians distribute their music on various online platforms, such as Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, and more.
The platform also provides analytics and feedback to help artists understand their audiences and improve their craft.
Collaborating with WELPRO Limited, a health management organization that provides health insurance, life insurance, and pension plans for PMAN members. The organization also offers community health programs and health management services.
Building of PMAN entertainment city in Abuja which is close to completion now in the FCT with a PMAN 3star hotel, shopping Malls, Music schools, concert venues, Radio station, TV stations, and affordable Homes for musicians.
Advocating for the protection of intellectual property rights and the enforcement of anti-piracy laws in Nigeria. He also lobbied for the implementation of the Copyright Act of 1999 and the Collective Management Organizations Regulations of 2007.
Organizing various workshops, seminars, and trainings for PMAN members to enhance their skills and knowledge in music production, marketing, branding, and entrepreneurship.
Supporting various causes and initiatives that promote peace, unity, and development in Nigeria. He also participated in several campaigns and rallies that condemned violence, corruption, and injustice in the country.
The Building of PMAN African entertainment city in Lagos on a 30 hectares property which he has already secured investors to participate in the project with about 5000 units of affordable Homes and two international Standard music schools with all the smart City amenities inclusive.
Pretty Okafor is a man of many talents and achievements. He has made a significant impact on the Nigerian music industry and the entertainment sector at large. He has also contributed to the social and economic development of Nigeria. He is a role model and a mentor to many young and aspiring musicians and entertainers. He is a visionary leader and a passionate activist. He is a legend in his own right.
He is happily married with 4 children.
Pretty Okafor’s journey to the top of PMAN is not without challenges and setbacks. He has faced several obstacles and opposition along the way. He has also endured some losses and tragedies, such as the death of his partner Junior Okechukwu Azike in 2005.
However, he has overcome these difficulties with courage and resilience. He has remained focused and committed to his vision and mission.
Pretty Okafor’s story is one of inspiration and motivation. It is a story of hard work, determination, innovation, and excellence. It is a story of the rise and rise of Pretty Okafor.
BY IYABO AINA
Publisher Of News Rain Nigeria