The 15 Most Popular Black Female Singers Of All TIme

June 17, 2014 ‐ By Deron Dalton
The 15 Most Popular Black Female Singers Of All TIme


Powerhouse voices, big hair, smooth dance moves, glamorous dresses, beautiful songwriting, torch songs, female empowerment, fierceness, diva attitude and breaking down barriers in the music industry are what black women in the music industry represent.

Now many black female legends have touched the hearts of others and moved generations with their music and artistry — from the gospel of Mahalia Jackson; the lady blues of Billie Holiday; the soulful sounds that get you caught up in a rapture with Anita Baker; the bridging the gap of R&B, and Rock and Roll of Etta James; the soulful leadership of Gladys Knight; the powerful vocals of Patti Labelle; and the eclectic, political sounds of Nina Simone.

Many of today’s black female artists owe a debt of gratitude to their foremothers. Some of those foremothers made it on this lists and some of today’s artists made it on this list because of how these black women managed to overcome so many obstacles and reach the top.

In celebration of Black Music Month, MadameNoire compiled a list of 15 black women in music who managed to become some of the most popular solo acts in music ever! This list is based on record sells (albums and singles), longevity, legacy and overall popularity in both mainstream and urban-marketed music.

MadameNoire Video

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Dawn5336

    Just read this. A joke.

    Can we please have articles written by someone who knows what the hell they’re talking about? This is the problem with the current generation. They think “all time” refers to only their lifetime.

    Influential black female singers list – the most influential of ALL TIME, and it has Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson on it. Are you kidding? Where’s Billie Holiday? Bessie Smith? Mahalia Jackson? No Angela Bofill, Lena Horne? I could go on and on. I agree that Aretha and Diana Ross, Whitney and Tina deserve their slots. But, please.

    This is what happens when you hire “writers” who just graduated a few years ago and think only their memories are relevant to the world.

    This list is a joke. I’m willing to bet the author has no idea who Minnie Ripperton or Rachelle Ferrell were. Beyonce, but no Ella Fitzgerald?


  • Traboe

    Popularity doesn’t necessarily equal talent I think we all can agree on that so in that respect I think this list is right on the money

  • sweet thing

    Lol at Beyonce last line. “She’s theb female MJ”
    The closest female to Mj would be Janet. This is based on overall success, talent, creativity and inpact. Bey doesnt come close.

    MN stay doing the most. Remember when yahll claimed salt n pepper “tributed” her when it was really a simple two step to 15secs of her songs? Lol

    Yahll stay obsessing over this girl.

    • Girl Bye

      Exactly. MN is reaching for Beyonce to pop up in those studios to interview. Girl Bye Micheal Jackson created a iconic status of his own. Who needs ambulance trucks at their concerts these days? LOL. Beyonce is def the most popular with Riri I wont doubt that but her record cannot touch MJ’s, there is no MJ of our time.

      And Salt and Peppa did what beyonce has done many times mixed in a popular groove song with their own music it was not a tribute. Beyonce has covered Crazy by GB, soulja boy and murder she wrote so was that a tribute?

      If someone is an true Icon then you never have to end with “there I said it”. The 1st person to push that was Jay z and he was the last … Fail.

    • Lost Soul

      There’s only one Michael Jackson.

  • Mspencer


  • Stacy D. Smith

    This must be based on album sales.

  • Shawndrea Rachelle

    …and the holier than thou negative comments already start. Most POPULAR artists of all time. It’s not like it says “10 Artists worthy of the praise Jesus gets”

  • Guest

    Read the first slide, bottom paragraph and you will understand the list lol

  • foxygirl1

    Well, since this list seems to be based on popularity, I suppose it’s accurate, but for our community, the black pov, you gotta include Phyllis Hyman, Minnie Ripperton, Angie Stone, Maysa, Evelyn Champagne King, Roberta Flack, Melba More, Valerie Simpson, Alicia Myers, Rachelle Ferrell, Jill Scott, Ledisi, Lalah Hataway, Carol Riddick, Conya Doss…..just to get started. For those who are unfamiliar with anyone I listed, please, please look them up and get to know the real sound of music.

    • FromUR2UB

      “Of All Time” appears limited to the author’s lifetime.

    • Lost Soul

      I like your list better than MN’s.

    • *MalteseObsessed*

      Maybe they need an “unsung” list, of the ones that have gr8 voices, but didn’t quite get the success that they deserved . . .

  • gekajones1

    Ummm, Gladys Knight, Patti Labelle, Anita Baker, Stephanie Mills……. if you’re talking “of all time”.

    • Say What?

      I had some reservations about this list as well especially with Aaliyah, Rihanna and Alicia Keys being on the list, but this isn’t about the best singers merely the most popular.

    • *MalteseObsessed*

      Good point!

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