female professionals The Greatest Black Female Singers  

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

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
285 97
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

The Greatest Female Gospel Singers The All-Time Best Rock Bassists

2
238 81
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

3
270 102
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
107 57
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
170 56
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
103 53
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
117 59
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

8
97 53
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

9
104 59
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Mahalia Jackson Gospel music

10
84 36
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

11
85 43
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
116 60
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

13
79 34
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Sade Adu

14
102 46
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
90 34
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years 15 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do

16
98 54
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

17
107 48
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

18
69 44
Dionne Warwick is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Dionne Warwick Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

19
64 36
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

20
90 37
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
104 60
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
86 46
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
160 104
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

24
85 39
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

25
122 76
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

26
46 25
Gloria Gaynor is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Gloria Gaynor Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Disco

27
31 3
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tom Islava added Jennifer Hudson Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

28
83 46
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

29
68 36
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

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30
67 44
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
51 25
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
59 30
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tracy Chapman Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music

33
45 31
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Macy Gray Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

34
57 20
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

35
39 31
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

36
40 29
Celia Cruz is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Celia Cruz Salsa, Salsa music, Bolero

37
85 61
Rihanna is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jason Martin added Rihanna Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Synthpop

38
42 27
Monica is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Monica Hip hop music, Pop music, Folk music

39
23 4
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

40
46 22
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
32 11
Leona Lewis is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
bigcraig added Leona Lewis Pop music, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

42
18 16
Nancy Wilson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
egghead added Nancy Wilson Pop music, Cabaret, Jazz

43
30 22
Eartha Kitt is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Eartha Kitt Torch song, Cabaret, Vocal jazz

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44
39 22
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
CeCe Winans Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

45
19 16
Mavis Staples is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mavis Staples Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

46
32 27
Faith Evans is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Faith Evans Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

47
39 35
Ciara is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ciara Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

48
34 30
Ashanti is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Ashanti Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

49
24 22
Barbara McNair is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Barbara McNair Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Jazz

50
45 29
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Brandy Norwood Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop