Music

The Greatest Black Female Singers 

Ranker Music
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Updated May 26, 2020 48.8k votes 7.4k voters 396.9k views 124 items

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

Making some of the best R&B songs of the past year, 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 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.

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 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. 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
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Pop music, Dance-pop & Contemporary R&B; Nationality: United States of America

More Whitney Houston 

The Best Whitney Houston Albums of All Time #67 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

2
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
3
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Ballad, Swing music & Traditional pop music; Nationality: United States of America

More Ella Fitzgerald 

The Best Ella Fitzgerald Albums of All Time #217 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #6 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

4
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Rock music, Dance-pop & Rhythm and blues; Nationality: Switzerland

More Tina Turner 

The Best Tina Turner Songs #221 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #19 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

5
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
6
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Rhythm and blues, Soul music & Gospel music; Nationality: United States of America

More Gladys Knight 

#98 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists #1,208 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timelisted on Mormon Celebrities

7
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Disco, Pop music & Dance music; Nationality: United States of America

More Diana Ross 

#109 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists #990 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #30 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

8
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Rock music, Rhythm and blues & Rock and roll; Nationality: United States of America

More Etta James 

The Best Etta James Albums of All Time #63 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists #87 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

9
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Folk music, Rhythm and blues & Jazz; Nationality: United States of America

More Nina Simone 

The Best Nina Simone Albums of All Time #140 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #17 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

10
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Pop and Contemporary R&B; Nationality: United States of America

More Mariah Carey 

The Best Mariah Carey Songs of All Time #235 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists #409 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

11
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop & Neo soul; Nationality: United States of America

More Lauryn Hill 

The Best Lauryn Hill Songs #650 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timelisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

12
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Hip hop music, Pop music & Neo soul; Nationality: United States of America

More Alicia Keys 

The Best Songs Feat. Alicia Keys #12 of 218 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years #391 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

13
Beyoncé Knowles ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
14
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music & Pop music; Nationality: United States of America

More Toni Braxton 

The Best Toni Braxton Songs #1,900 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #39 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

15
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Genre: Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm & Smooth jazz; Nationality: United States of America

More Anita Baker 

The Best Anita Baker Albums of All Time #485 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #68 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

16
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music & Disco; Nationality: United States of America

More Chaka Khan 

The Best Chaka Khan Albums of All Time #146 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #386 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

17
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: New Wave, Disco & Pop music; Nationality: United States of America

More Donna Summer 

The Best Donna Summer Albums of All Time #54 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #10 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

18
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
19
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Hip hop music, Pop music & Dance-pop; Nationality: United States of America

More Brandy Norwood 

The Best Brandy Norwood Albums of All Time #206 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #700 of 940 The Best Actresses in Film History

20
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tom Islava added Genre: Pop music, Contemporary R&B & Soul music; Nationality: United States of America

More Jennifer Hudson 

The Best Jennifer Hudson Songs #180 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #26 of 218 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years

21
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Doo-wop, Girl group & Ballad; Nationality: United States of America

More Patti LaBelle 

#414 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #20 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #59 of 225 The Best Current Female Singers

22
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B & Rhythm and blues; Nationality: United States of America

More Mary J. Blige 

The Best Mary J. Blige Albums of All Time #311 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #51 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

23
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Genre: Hip hop music, Pop music & Neo soul; Nationality: United States of America

More Aaliyah 

The Best Songs Feat. Aaliyah #60 of 90 Who Is the Coolest Actor in the World Right Now? #846 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

24
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Rhythm and blues; Nationality: United States of America

More Minnie Riperton 

#95 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #343 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #156 of 205 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

25
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Genre: Gospel music; Nationality: United States of America

More Mahalia Jackson 

#263 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #124 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #399 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time