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
232 75
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
209 64
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

3
222 86
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
147 53
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

5
106 52
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

6
93 48
Sarah Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jdoggy added Sarah Vaughan Cool jazz, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz

7
90 42
Mahalia Jackson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Mahalia Jackson Gospel music

8
91 48
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

9
102 57
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

10
94 45
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

11
89 48
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

12
76 33
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

13
68 30
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Sade Adu

14
83 41
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
87 45
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

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16
72 34
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

17
75 39
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

18
76 34
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

19
55 31
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
84 48
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

21
59 39
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
71 37
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

23
104 69
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

24
127 89
Beyoncé is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Beyoncé Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

25
70 40
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

26
71 45
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
52 28
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tracy Chapman Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music

28
44 18
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

29
55 32
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

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30
43 23
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
39 22
Gloria Gaynor is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Gloria Gaynor Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Disco

32
54 40
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

33
66 51
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
38 28
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Macy Gray Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

35
37 21
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

36
36 28
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

37
36 26
Celia Cruz is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Kasir Radojica added Celia Cruz Salsa, Salsa music, Bolero

38
35 25
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
23 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
31 20
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
CeCe Winans Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

41
12 3
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

42
26 20
Eartha Kitt is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
malmrphy added Eartha Kitt Torch song, Cabaret, Vocal jazz

43
12 2
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Tom Islava added Jennifer Hudson Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

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44
39 28
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Brandy Norwood Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

45
35 31
Ciara is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Ciara Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

46
34 26
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

47
28 25
Faith Evans is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Faith Evans Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

48
32 26
Janelle Monae is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Janelle Monae Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Future soul

49
15 14
Mavis Staples is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
Mavis Staples Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

50
15 14
Nancy Wilson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Female Singers
egghead added Nancy Wilson Pop music, Cabaret, Jazz