Music
8.6k voters

The Greatest Black Female Singers

Updated September 3, 2020 60.2k votes 8.6k voters 468.9k views126 items

List RulesVote 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.

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    Whitney Houston

    Pop music, Dance-pop

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 2
    1,833
    648

    Aretha Franklin

    Pop music, Rock music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 3
    1,316
    558

    Ella Fitzgerald

    Ballad, Swing music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 4
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    340

    Gladys Knight

    Rhythm and blues, Soul music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 5
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    Tina Turner

    Rock music, Dance-pop

    NationalitySwitzerland, United States of America

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  • 6
    884
    316

    Etta James

    Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 7
    873
    386

    Billie Holiday

    Torch song, Ballad

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 8
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    Nina Simone

    Folk music, Rhythm and blues

    NationalityUnited States of America

    More Nina Simone 

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  • 9
    562
    201

    Minnie Riperton

    Pop music, Rock music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 10
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    Diana Ross

    Disco, Pop music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 11
    792
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    Toni Braxton

    Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    More Toni Braxton 

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  • 12
    745
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    Brandy Norwood

    Hip hop music, Pop music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 13
    610
    226

    Jennifer Hudson

    Pop music, Contemporary R&B

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 14
    713
    330

    Anita Baker

    Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 15
    763
    374

    Lauryn Hill

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 16
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    Mariah Carey

    Pop, Contemporary R&B

    NationalityUnited States of America

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    The Best Mariah Carey Songs of All Time#12 of 739 The Best Singers Of All Time

  • 17
    757
    321

    Patti LaBelle

    Doo-wop, Girl group

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 18
    837
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    Alicia Keys

    Hip hop music, Pop music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    More Alicia Keys 

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  • 19
    403
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    India.Arie

    Pop music, Neo soul

    NationalityUnited States of America

    More India.Arie 

    #2 of 22 Unicef Goodwill Ambassadors For The United States#16 of 24 Musicians Whose Grammy Wins Basically Made Their Careers

  • 20
    403
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    Jill Scott

    Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul

    NationalityUnited States of America

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    #569 of 831 The Best Actresses In Film History#120 of 223 The Greatest Black Actresses Of All Time

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    273
    72

    Lena Horne

    Pop music, Traditional pop music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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    #7 of 189 Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?#179 of 242 Actors You Would Watch Read the Phone Book

  • 22
    772
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    More Sade Adu 

    #87 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years#337 of 356 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

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    CeCe Winans

    Pop music, Hymn

    NationalityUnited States of America

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    #30 of 88 The Best '90s Contemporary Christian Artists#4 of 50 The Greatest Female Gospel Singers

  • 24
    457
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    Tracy Chapman

    Blues-rock, Pop music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 25
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    723

    NationalityUnited States of America

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