music The Greatest Black Female Musicians  

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List Rules Vote up the top black women musicians around the world.

If you're an audiophile, chances are you own albums by many of the women on this list. These are the greatest black female musicians of all time, as voted on by you and your fellow music fans. But what genre should reign supreme? Some famous black female musicians sing the blues while other top black woman musicians are pop superstars. Many of the best black female musicians have topped the charts time and time again.

What artists will you find on this list of the best black female musicians? Maybe Tina Turner is your pick for number one. By combining R&B, rock, soul, pop, the blues, and her infectious energy, Turner has earned a reputation as a truly incredible live performer. Alicia Keys is another talented African-American female musician who specializes in blending genres. Perhaps the most innovative musician of modern times – regardless of race or gender – is Beyonce. The pop icon continues to explore new musical territory with every album. Other talented performers featured on this list include Aretha Franklin, Janet Jackson, and Missy Elliott.

Which of these superstars should top the list? Give your personal picks a thumbs up to move them towards number one, and add any musicians who are missing.

list ordered by

1
24 11
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

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2
22 14
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

3
18 14
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

4
17 13
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

5
17 14
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

6
15 12
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

7
14 12
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

8
13 11
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

9
12 11
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

10
13 13
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

11
12 12
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
RobLein added Mahalia Jackson Gospel music

12
19 20
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

13
10 10
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

14
13 14
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

15
12 14
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

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16
9 11
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

17
9 11
Missy Elliott is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Missy Elliott Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

18
8 10
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

19
7 9
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

20
7 9
Dorothy Dandridge is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians

21
12 15
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

22
11 14
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

23
9 12
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

24
9 12
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

25
8 11
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Mary J. Blige Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

26
8 11
Josephine Baker is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Josephine Baker Music hall, Cabaret, French pop music

27
8 11
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

28
8 11
Janelle Monae is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Janelle Monae Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Future soul

29
8 11
Dionne Warwick is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Dionne Warwick Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

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30
3 6
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
skaj added Minnie Riperton Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

31
8 12
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

32
7 11
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

33
6 10
Ronnie Spector is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Ronnie Spector Girl group, Pop music, Rock music

34
1 4
Rihanna is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Rihanna Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Synthpop

35
6 12
Lil' Kim is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Lil' Kim Hip hop music, Dirty rap, Hardcore hip hop

36
5 11
Eve is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Eve Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Pop music

37
5 11
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

38
5 11
Foxy Brown is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Foxy Brown Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

39
4 10
Pearl Bailey is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
RobLein added Pearl Bailey

40
4 10
Della Reese is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
RobLein added Della Reese Christian music, Pop music, Traditional pop music

41
7 14
Nicki Minaj is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Nicki Minaj Hip hop music, Synthpop, Hardcore hip hop

42
3 9
Vanessa Williams is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians

43
3 9
Ciara is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Ciara Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

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44
3 10
Kelis is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Kelis Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Synthpop

45
3 10
Faith Evans is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Faith Evans Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

46
5 13
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Macy Gray Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

47
3 11
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

48
4 13
Queen Latifah is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Queen Latifah Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Jazz

49
2 11
Meshell Ndegeocello is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Meshell Ndegeocello Hip hop music, Rock music, Reggae

50
2 11
Koko Taylor is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Koko Taylor Chicago blues, Electric blues, Rhythm and blues