Music
8.7k voters

The Greatest Black Female Singers

Updated April 27, 2021 59.9k votes 8.7k voters 474.7k views143 items

List RulesVote up the top Black female vocalists around the world.

These are the greatest Black female singers of all time, from Aretha and Whitney Houston to Mariah Carey and 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 artists are pop superstars. Many of the best Black female singers have reached the top of the charts with their catchy tunes. They have careers that span the old guard of the '50s and '60s, on into the disco-dominated '70s and '80s, and through '90s, 2000s, and modern day. Many of the more recent entries on this list may have looked up to the older artists as legends when they were young girls, but today, they stand together as musical superstars. From legendary icons to new faces, this list features the most popular Black female singers ever.

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 R&B singer's powerful voice and dynamic dance moves have earned her plenty of acclaim as one of the best Black singers, 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. Vote up the very best Black female singers.

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  • 1
    2,055
    657

    Whitney Houston

    Pop music, Dance-pop

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  • 2
    1,826
    646

    Aretha Franklin

    Pop music, Rock music

    More Aretha Franklin 

    The Best Aretha Franklin Albums of All Time#55 of 162 1970s Christian Pop Artists

  • 3
    942
    342

    Gladys Knight

    Rhythm and blues, Soul music

    More Gladys Knight 

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  • 4
    889
    316

    Etta James

    Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    More Etta James 

    The Best Etta James Albums of All Time#6 of 219 The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s

  • 5
    1,311
    553

    Ella Fitzgerald

    Ballad, Swing music

    More Ella Fitzgerald 

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  • 6
    1,114
    486

    Tina Turner

    Rock music, Dance-pop

    More Tina Turner 

    The Best Tina Turner Songs#127 of 263 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

  • 7
    873
    388

    Billie Holiday

    Torch song, Ballad

    More Billie Holiday 

    The Unprecedented Rise And Tragic Death Of Billie Holiday#43 of 154 The Druggiest Rock Stars of All Time

  • 8
    562
    203

    Minnie Riperton

    Pop music, Rock music

    More Minnie Riperton 

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  • 9
    615
    226

    Jennifer Hudson

    Pop music, Contemporary R&B

    More Jennifer Hudson 

    The Best Jennifer Hudson Songs#22 of 198 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years

  • 10
    925
    453

    Nina Simone

    Folk music, Rhythm and blues

    More Nina Simone 

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  • 11
    758
    319

    Patti LaBelle

    Doo-wop, Girl group

    More Patti LaBelle 

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  • 12
    791
    380

    Toni Braxton

    Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music

    More Toni Braxton 

    The Best Toni Braxton Albums of All Time#56 of 101 The Best Current Female Singers

  • 13
    869
    425

    Diana Ross

    Disco, Pop music

    More Diana Ross 

    #259 of 272 The Best American Actresses Working Today#181 of 186 The Greatest Actresses Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)

  • 14
    403
    162

    Jill Scott

    Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul

    More Jill Scott 

    #125 of 214 The Greatest Black Actresses Of All Time#155 of 188 The Greatest Women in Music, 1980s to Today

  • 15
    929
    506

    Mariah Carey

    Pop, Contemporary R&B

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    The Best Mariah Carey Albums of All Time#187 of 489 The Best Rock Vocalists

  • 16
    325
    136

    CeCe Winans

    Pop music, Hymn

    More CeCe Winans 

    #27 of 88 The Best '90s Contemporary Christian Artists#78 of 140 The Best Musical Artists From Michigan

  • 17
    774
    441

    More Sade Adu 

    #212 of 465 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s#285 of 383 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

  • 18
    384
    169

    Fantasia

    Christian music, Pop music

    More Fantasia 

    #21 of 135 The Best American Idol Contestants Ever#69 of 1,019 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time

  • 19
    130
    29

    Jennifer Holliday

    Pop music, House music

    More Jennifer Holliday 

    #230 of 602 The Best Female Vocalists Ever#104 of 140 The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time

  • 20
    1,112
    723

    More Beyoncé Knowles 

    The Best Songs Ft. Beyonce#13 of 94 The Most Influential Women of 2019

  • 21
    597
    355

    Mahalia Jackson

    Gospel music

    More Mahalia Jackson 

    #1066 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time#231 of 525 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

  • 22
    476
    274

    Natalie Cole

    Adult contemporary music, Pop music

    More Natalie Cole 

    The Best Natalie Cole Albums of All Time#5 of 57 The Most Musically Gifted Children of Musicians

  • 23
    132
    37

    Shirley Caesar

    Gospel music

    More Shirley Caesar 

    #1310 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time#40 of 45 The Best '90s Southern Gospel Bands & Artists

  • 24
    594
    362

    Dionne Warwick

    Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music

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  • 25
    309
    157

    Nancy Wilson

    Pop music, Cabaret

    More Nancy Wilson 

    #7 of 189 Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?#5 of 136 The Best Musical Artists From Ohio