singers The Greatest Black Female Singers  

Ranker Music
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15.1k votes 2.7k voters 110.3k views 104 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.

list ordered by

1
493 208
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
404 168
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

3
591 160
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
179 118
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
317 100
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
242 105
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

7
206 84
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

8
181 99
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

9
201 120
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

10
186 89
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

11
202 85
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

12
168 81
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Sade Adu

13
169 99
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Mahalia Jackson Gospel music

14
203 66
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

The Greatest Female Gospel Singers

15
340 188
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

16
222 95
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

17
209 71
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
151 110
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

19
144 103
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

20
203 74
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

21
235 119
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

The Best Frontmen in Rock

22
137 88
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
156 67
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

24
113 23
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

25
177 85
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
110 67
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
138 43
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

28
227 129
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

The Best Female Rock Singers

29
142 78
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

30
175 87
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

31
114 44
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
97 58
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
207 121
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
124 52
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
123 58
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tracy Chapman Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music

Great One Hit Wonder Artists of the '90s

36
98 51
Monica is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Monica Hip hop music, Pop music, Folk music

37
94 45
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

38
103 33
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

39
100 25
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
51 25
Missy Elliott is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Coolza added Missy Elliott Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

41
54 15
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
76 35
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
CeCe Winans Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

The Best Lesbian Singers of All Time

43
61 46
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

44
71 49
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
76 61
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Macy Gray Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

46
61 37
Eartha Kitt is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Eartha Kitt Torch song, Cabaret, Vocal jazz

47
50 20
Kelly Rowland is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Coolza added Kelly Rowland Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

48
70 46
Faith Evans is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Faith Evans Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

49
46 29
Nancy Wilson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
egghead added Nancy Wilson Pop music, Cabaret, Jazz

50
77 57
Ashanti is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Ashanti Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop