singers The Greatest Black Female Singers  

Ranker Music
Originally by
15.5k votes 2.8k voters 111.2k views 104 items

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

Making some of the best R&B songs of 2018, 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
494 214
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

2
407 170
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

3
599 160
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
180 121
Sarah Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jdoggy added Sarah Vaughan Cool jazz, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz

5
320 102
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

6
245 108
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

7
209 86
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

8
190 91
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

9
173 83
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Sade Adu

10
172 100
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Mahalia Jackson Gospel music

11
184 102
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

12
203 123
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

13
204 86
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
206 67
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

The Longest Hollywood Marriages

15
227 96
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

16
343 192
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

17
211 73
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

18
151 114
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

19
145 106
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

20
205 77
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

21
240 119
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years

22
139 90
Dionne Warwick is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Dionne Warwick Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

23
159 68
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

24
117 24
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

25
180 86
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
112 69
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

27
140 43
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

28
230 131
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

The Best Female Duos In Music

29
146 79
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

30
179 88
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

31
115 46
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Minnie Riperton Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

32
99 60
Gloria Gaynor is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Gloria Gaynor Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Disco

33
212 122
Rihanna is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jason Martin added Rihanna Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Synthpop

34
127 53
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Brandy Norwood Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

35
100 51
Monica is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Monica Hip hop music, Pop music, Folk music

The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams

36
123 60
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tracy Chapman Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music

37
96 45
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

38
54 25
Missy Elliott is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Coolza added Missy Elliott Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

39
102 25
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tom Islava added Jennifer Hudson Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

40
104 34
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

41
56 16
Fantasia is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Coolza added Fantasia Christian music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

42
78 35
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
CeCe Winans Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

Who Is Grimes, The Pop Genius Who Just So Happens To Be Dating Elon Musk?

43
62 47
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

44
73 50
Celia Cruz is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Celia Cruz Salsa, Salsa music, Bolero

45
77 63
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Macy Gray Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

46
62 38
Eartha Kitt is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Eartha Kitt Torch song, Cabaret, Vocal jazz

47
72 46
Faith Evans is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Faith Evans Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

48
48 29
Nancy Wilson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
egghead added Nancy Wilson Pop music, Cabaret, Jazz

49
51 21
Kelly Rowland is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Coolza added Kelly Rowland Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

50
79 57
Ashanti is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Ashanti Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop