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
264 86
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
230 74
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

3
253 94
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
102 53
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
100 50
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

6
163 54
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

7
116 56
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

8
101 50
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Mahalia Jackson Gospel music

9
94 47
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

10
81 35
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

11
82 42
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
113 58
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

13
73 33
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Sade Adu

14
98 44
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
96 51
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
85 33
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

17
102 46
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

18
67 42
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
60 32
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
86 35
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
101 55
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
115 71
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

23
45 24
Gloria Gaynor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Gloria Gaynor Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Disco

24
147 99
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
79 38
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

26
79 46
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mary J. Blige Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

27
25 2
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
78 42
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

29
65 41
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

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30
50 24
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Minnie Riperton Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

31
65 35
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

32
58 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
44 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
38 30
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

35
51 19
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

36
39 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
76 57
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
39 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
30 10
Leona Lewis is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
bigcraig added Leona Lewis Pop music, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

40
44 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
29 21
Eartha Kitt is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Eartha Kitt Torch song, Cabaret, Vocal jazz

42
17 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
19 4
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

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44
39 33
Ciara is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ciara Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

45
32 26
Faith Evans is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Faith Evans Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

46
18 16
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
36 21
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
CeCe Winans Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

48
24 22
Barbara McNair is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Barbara McNair Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Jazz

49
30 29
Ashanti is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Ashanti Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

50
41 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