Bands/Musicians The Greatest Black Female Musicians  

Ranker Music
3k votes 271 voters 5.8k views 83 items

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.

1
73 40
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

2
63 33
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
60 33
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

4
53 36
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

5
39 27
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

6
37 27
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

7
59 50
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

8
37 28
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

9
36 28
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

10
32 25
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

11
32 26
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

12
15 8
Salt-N-Pepa is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Salt-N-Pepa Hip hop music, Girl group, Pop rap

13
28 23
Missy Elliott is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Missy Elliott Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

14
34 30
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

Famous Schizophrenics

15
33 29
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

16
30 26
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

17
38 35
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

18
18 13
Shanice is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Shanice Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Pop rock

19
29 26
Rihanna is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Rihanna Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Synthpop

20
27 24
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Brandy Norwood Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

21
26 23
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
RobLein added Mahalia Jackson Gospel music

The Best Female Duos In Music

22
25 22
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

23
24 21
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
24 21
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

25
29 27
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

26
11 7
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

27
16 14
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Jennifer Hudson Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

28
22 21
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

The Best Female Composers Ever, Ranked

29
22 21
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

30
12 10
Kelly Rowland is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Kelly Rowland Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

31
18 17
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

32
17 16
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
skaj added Minnie Riperton Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

33
11 9
Fantasia is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Fantasia Christian music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

34
11 9
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Tracy Chapman Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music

35
22 23
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams

36
15 15
Beverley Knight is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Beverley Knight Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues, Pop rock

37
20 21
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Mary J. Blige Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

38
7 6
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

39
7 6
Gloria Gaynor is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Gloria Gaynor Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Disco

40
18 20
Queen Latifah is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Queen Latifah Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Jazz

41
21 24
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

42
10 11
Leona Lewis is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Leona Lewis Pop music, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

Every Song That Debuted At No. 1 On Billboard, Ranked

43
18 21
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

44
4 4
Neneh Cherry is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Neneh Cherry Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music

45
7 8
Emeli Sandé is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Emeli Sandé Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

46
15 18
Dionne Warwick is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Dionne Warwick Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

47
17 21
Josephine Baker is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Josephine Baker Music hall, Cabaret, French pop music

48
13 16
Vanessa Williams is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians

49
5 6
Eartha Kitt is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Eartha Kitt Torch song, Cabaret, Vocal jazz

50
4 5
Oleta Adams is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Oleta Adams Jazz, Soul music