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“Silent Superheroes” is a weekly column on Madame Noire, which showcases ordinary women doing superordinary things. Stay tuned for more topics, comment or write us at if you have suggestions!

Rafiya is a Philadelphia based Afro-Soul performer who spends her days immersed in masterful conversations with young crowds. That’s right, in true superhero form she operates a dual lifestyle — high school teacher by day, and soulful songbird at night. Her smooth and solid sound is comparable to India Arie and Les Nubians.

Born and bred in Los Angeles by Congolese parents, a diplomat father and a mom who was a sociologist, Rafiya traveled all over the world to the Congo, Cape Verde Islands, Benin, Senegal, Guinea and the Ivory Coast. In 2001, she attended Temple University where she took up a dual-degree program in sociology and Spanish, which she completed in 2006. While attending school full-time, Rafiya found time to work with local artists, absorbing their techniques and wisdom all the while enriching her sound.

From the start, Rafiya was destined to be a giver whether through education, music or otherwise. Her first album, “Amazing” was released June 29th and reflects a talented soul with a positive outlook on the world.

Real Name: Nicole

Alter Ego: RAFIYA

Locale: Philadelphia, PA

Ordinary Role: Teacher/Singer

Secret Powers: Patient and Giving

Incognito Aesthetic: My eyes

Superhero’s Creed: Life, Love, Music

A recent test: Giving up my full time job to completely pursue my musical career.

Putting Your Powers to Use: I give love, hope, comfort, smiles through my music and the knowledge I impart to my students.

Need more convincing? Check out a sample of the goods for yourself by clicking here for a taste of her new album.

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