singers The Greatest Black Female Singers  

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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
311 112
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

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2
259 87
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

3
319 110
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
113 62
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
183 59
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
107 59
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

7
125 66
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

8
98 44
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

9
133 66
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

10
103 56
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

11
96 48
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
130 51
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

13
112 64
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Mahalia Jackson Gospel music

14
111 49
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

15
109 57
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

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16
82 42
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Sade Adu

17
103 38
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

18
70 40
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

19
74 48
Dionne Warwick is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Dionne Warwick Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

20
99 42
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

21
116 68
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

22
96 50
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mary J. Blige Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

23
94 44
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

24
176 117
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

25
54 27
Gloria Gaynor is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Gloria Gaynor Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Disco

26
132 84
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

27
65 25
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
73 46
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

29
91 52
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

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30
76 40
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

31
56 26
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
37 7
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

33
68 32
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tracy Chapman Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music

34
48 35
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Macy Gray Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

35
94 67
Rihanna is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jason Martin added Rihanna Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Synthpop

36
36 5
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tom Islava added Jennifer Hudson Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

37
42 32
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

38
44 31
Celia Cruz is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Celia Cruz Salsa, Salsa music, Bolero

39
45 29
Monica is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Monica Hip hop music, Pop music, Folk music

40
43 23
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
CeCe Winans Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

41
48 30
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Brandy Norwood Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

42
32 22
Eartha Kitt is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Eartha Kitt Torch song, Cabaret, Vocal jazz

43
52 23
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

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44
38 13
Leona Lewis is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
bigcraig added Leona Lewis Pop music, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

45
44 29
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

46
25 17
Mavis Staples is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mavis Staples Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

47
33 22
Grace Jones is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Grace Jones Urban contemporary, Synthpop, New Wave

48
20 18
Nancy Wilson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
egghead added Nancy Wilson Pop music, Cabaret, Jazz

49
33 29
Faith Evans is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Faith Evans Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

50
36 34
Ashanti is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Ashanti Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop