Singers The Greatest Black Female Singers  

Ranker Music
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20.3k votes 3.5k voters 140.3k views 111 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 artists 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 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.

1
646 269
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
512 212
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

3
759 199
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
230 161
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
318 147
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

6
400 141
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
278 114
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

8
278 88
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

9
233 135
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Mahalia Jackson Gospel music

10
271 115
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

11
235 132
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
238 117
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

13
298 125
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

14
237 121
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Sade Adu

15
447 249
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
250 158
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

17
282 99
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
177 132
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

19
180 140
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

20
181 41
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

21
183 117
Dionne Warwick is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Dionne Warwick Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

22
306 158
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

23
251 115
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

24
300 168
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

25
146 91
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

26
189 65
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

27
201 100
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

28
228 118
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mary J. Blige Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

29
234 118
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

30
197 113
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
147 62
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
125 76
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
271 165
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
147 39
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tom Islava added Jennifer Hudson Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

35
135 78
Monica is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Monica Hip hop music, Pop music, Folk music

36
159 85
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Brandy Norwood Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

37
149 81
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tracy Chapman Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music

38
105 45
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
CeCe Winans Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

39
135 46
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

40
81 57
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

41
86 32
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
77 45
Missy Elliott is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Coolza added Missy Elliott Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

43
110 61
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

44
93 60
Faith Evans is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Faith Evans Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

45
66 42
Nancy Wilson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
egghead added Nancy Wilson Pop music, Cabaret, Jazz

46
78 50
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
89 76
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Macy Gray Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

48
82 61
Celia Cruz is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Celia Cruz Salsa, Salsa music, Bolero

49
75 41
Kelly Rowland is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Coolza added Kelly Rowland Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

50
78 40
Josephine Baker is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Josephine Baker Music hall, Cabaret, French pop music