singers The Greatest Black Female Singers  

Ranker Music
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16.6k votes 2.9k voters 117.5k views 105 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.

1
517 227
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
428 180
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

3
638 166
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
341 108
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

5
264 115
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

6
189 133
Sarah Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jdoggy added Sarah Vaughan Cool jazz, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz

7
223 95
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

8
219 91
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

9
187 90
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Sade Adu

10
196 108
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

11
220 133
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

12
184 108
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Mahalia Jackson Gospel music

13
226 73
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

14
376 204
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

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15
199 99
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

16
243 104
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

17
228 79
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
153 114
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

19
264 130
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

20
158 124
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

21
218 87
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years

22
147 96
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
129 28
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

24
168 76
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

25
193 95
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
118 74
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
247 141
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

28
150 48
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

The Best Female Musicians of All Time

29
193 95
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

30
156 87
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

31
122 49
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
105 64
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
227 136
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
133 63
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
109 58
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 Druggiest Rock Stars of All Time

36
130 66
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tracy Chapman Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music

37
111 36
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

38
99 50
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

39
111 29
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
83 38
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
CeCe Winans Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

41
62 20
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
58 32
Missy Elliott is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Coolza added Missy Elliott Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

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43
66 50
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

44
74 55
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
51 33
Nancy Wilson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
egghead added Nancy Wilson Pop music, Cabaret, Jazz

46
57 27
Kelly Rowland is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Coolza added Kelly Rowland Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

47
75 51
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
78 68
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Macy Gray Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

49
64 43
Eartha Kitt is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Eartha Kitt Torch song, Cabaret, Vocal jazz

50
63 32
Josephine Baker is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Josephine Baker Music hall, Cabaret, French pop music