Music

The Greatest Black Female Singers  

Ranker Music
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43.2k votes 6.7k voters 348.6k views 125 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
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music
2
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues
3
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B
4
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music
5
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Torch song, Ballad, Swing music
6
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
7
Sarah Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jdoggy added Cool jazz, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz
8
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll
9
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues
10
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco
11
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
New Wave, Disco, Pop music
12
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added
13
Dionne Warwick is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music
14
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Disco, Pop music, Dance music
15
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
16
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Gospel music
17
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz
18
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Pop, Contemporary R&B
19
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues
20
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues
21
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul
22
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul
23
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues
24
Beyoncé Knowles ... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
R&B, Pop, Hip hop
25
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music