bands/musicians The Greatest Black Female Singers  

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List Rules Vote up the top black female vocalists around the world.

They've provided the soundtrack to your first dance, your birthday bash, and your cross-country road trip. These are the greatest black female singers of all time, from Aretha to Mariah to Sade, as ranked by music enthusiasts like you. The women featured here are standouts in a number of genres. Some famous black female singers sing the blues while other top black woman singers are pop superstars. Many of the best black female singers have reached the top of the charts with their catchy tunes.

What artist will you vote to the top of this list of the best black female singers? Maybe you're one of the millions of Beyonce fans. The singer's powerful voice and killer dance moves have earned her plenty of acclaim, but listeners also love her for her way of redefining pop music with her innovative hits. Lauryn Hill's soulful vocals helped the singer take home five Grammy awards for her iconic album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Other artists featured on this list include Tina Turner, Ella Fitzgerald, and Erykah Badu.

Do you have a favorite black female singer? This list includes African American women as well as black female vocalists from other countries. Give the best singers a thumbs up to move them towards the number-one spot, and add any singers who are missing.

list ordered by

1
+ - 169 49
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

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2
+ - 178 55
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

3
+ - 165 66
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

4
+ - 105 43
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

5
+ - 88 44
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

6
+ - 74 31
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mahalia Jackson Gospel music

7
+ - 69 35
Sarah Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Sarah Vaughan Cool jazz, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz

8
+ - 71 34
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

9
+ - 66 34
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

10
+ - 76 43
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

11
+ - 55 24
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers

12
+ - 73 41
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

13
+ - 69 35
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

14
+ - 59 29
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

15
+ - 62 31
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

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16
+ - 63 30
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

17
+ - 73 38
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

18
+ - 49 26
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

19
+ - 57 29
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

20
+ - 46 31
Dionne Warwick is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Dionne Warwick Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

21
+ - 59 32
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

22
+ - 62 38
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

23
+ - 82 57
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

24
+ - 35 12
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

25
+ - 55 36
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mary J. Blige Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

26
+ - 52 31
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

27
+ - 32 17
Gloria Gaynor is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Gloria Gaynor Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Disco

28
+ - 37 20
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Minnie Riperton Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

29
+ - 93 76
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

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30
+ - 41 25
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tracy Chapman Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music

31
+ - 42 27
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

32
+ - 32 26
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

33
+ - 41 36
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

34
+ - 29 23
Celia Cruz is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Celia Cruz Salsa, Salsa music, Bolero

35
+ - 28 22
Monica is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Monica Hip hop music, Pop music, Folk music

36
+ - 27 17
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

37
+ - 27 25
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Macy Gray Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

38
+ - 30 22
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

39
+ - 33 25
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Brandy Norwood Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

40
+ - 44 42
Rihanna is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Rihanna Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Synthpop

41
+ - 13 11
Nancy Wilson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Nancy Wilson Pop music, Cabaret, Jazz

42
+ - 13 7
Leona Lewis is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Leona Lewis Pop music, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

43
+ - 24 22
Faith Evans is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Faith Evans Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

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44
+ - 23 17
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
CeCe Winans Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

45
+ - 19 17
Eartha Kitt is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Eartha Kitt Torch song, Cabaret, Vocal jazz

46
+ - 26 26
Ciara is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ciara Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

47
+ - 21 17
Barbara McNair is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Barbara McNair Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Jazz

48
+ - 26 22
Janelle Monae is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Janelle Monae Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Future soul

49
+ - 21 23
Ashanti is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ashanti Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

50
+ - 24 25
Queen Latifah is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Queen Latifah Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Jazz