Music

The Greatest Black Female Musicians  

Ranker Music
4.8k votes 525 voters 12.9k views 85 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.

list ordered by
1
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B
2
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues
3
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues
4
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
5
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music
6
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Torch song, Ballad, Swing music
7
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music
8
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul
9
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music
10
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul
11
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco
12
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll
13
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music
14
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B
15
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music
16
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues
17
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz
18
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad
19
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Coolza added Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop
20
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm
21
Missy Elliott is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop
22
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music
23
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul
24
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
25
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Musicians
RobLein added Gospel music