Famous Black Pop Singers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
150
Famous As: King of Pop
Birthdate: August 29, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States
Died: June 25, 2009

The King of Pop and an international superstar, Michael Jackson was a musical entertainer whose work – both with Jackson 5 and solo – won accolades and hearts worldwide. Equally popular were his unique dance moves that created sensation and shaped future dance styles. Amongst the most successful entertainers of all time, Jackson was later accused of child molestation.  

 2 Prince

Prince
131
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 7, 1958
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Died: April 21, 2016

Singer-songwriter, dancer, and musician, Prince is is widely regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. He was considered a guitar virtuoso and could also play several other instruments. With worldwide sales of over 150 million records, he is ranked among the best-selling music artists of all time. He was also well known for his flamboyant persona.

 3 Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey
18
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: March 27, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Huntington, New York, United States

Known for her five-octave vocal range and melismatic singing style, singer-songwriter Mariah Carey is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She holds the record for the most number-one singles by a solo artist and a female songwriter. She was ranked second on VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music in 2012. 

 4 Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys
35
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 25, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, United States

Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys has been active in the music industry since the mid-1990s. Her debut album was a super hit and earned her five Grammy Awards. She is one of the best-selling artists in the United States and has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. She is also known for her humanitarian work, philanthropy, and activism.

 5 Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin
45
Famous As: Singer & Activist
Birthdate: March 25, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Died: August 16, 2018

Widely regarded as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin was a singer-songwriter, actress, and civil rights activist. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Aretha was ranked number one on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list in 2010. Having sold over 75 million records, she is also one of the best-selling musicians ever.

 6 Jay-Z

Jay-Z
9
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: December 4, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Jay-Z is an American rapper and songwriter and is one of the world's best-selling music artists. His debut album Reasonable Doubt was hugely successful in 1996 and since then he has gone on to release many more acclaimed and successful albums. He has been charged with assaulting a record executive and was given a three-year probation sentence in January 2000.

 7 John Legend

John Legend
28
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 28, 1978
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Springfield, Ohio, United States

John Legend is a singer, songwriter, actor, film producer and theatre director and his song All of Me from his fourth studio album was a Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit. He has released a host of successful albums. He has also won many awards, including an Oscar and a handful of Grammys. He is also an actor and a TV personality.

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 8 Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson
31
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: May 16, 1966
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States

A member of the prominent Jackson family, Janet Jackson is a singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer. Popularly known for her innovative and socially conscious songs, she was considered a sex icon in her youth. Beginning her career as a teenager, she went on to become one of the world's best-selling music artists of all time.

 9 Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye
13
Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: April 2, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: April 1, 1984

American singer Marvin Gaye is one of the most successful black artists ever and his albums have sold in millions. His success reached great heights with the 1972 song What's Going On. The 1982 single Sexual Healing was the biggest hit of his career and was a chartbuster. He was tragically shot dead by his father after a family altercation.

 10 Ray Charles

Ray Charles
7
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: September 23, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Albany, Georgia, United States
Died: June 10, 2004

Ray Charles went on to become a great singer-songwriter, composer, and pianist, despite suffering blindness due to glaucoma early in his life. One of the most respected and decorated musicians of all time, Ray Charles has been named in lists, such as 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. He pioneered the soul music genre, which remains his greatest contribution.

 11 Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke
9
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 22, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States
Died: December 11, 1964
The King of Soul Sam Cooke is best remembered for his hits A Change is Gonna Come, You Send Me, and Wonderful World. He began singing gospel as a child and later joined The Soul Stirrers. He was shot and killed by a motel manager in Los Angeles. 

 12 Rihanna

Rihanna
100
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 20, 1988
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Michael, Barbados

For anyone who has a penchant for music, Rihanna needs no introduction. Born as Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Rihanna is one of the most influential names in the music and fashion industry. Her effortless singing, catchy tunes and inimitable dance moves have won her eight Grammy Awards, eight American Music Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards and two BRIT Awards.

 13 Diana Ross

Diana Ross
34
Famous As: American singer
Birthdate: March 26, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

With several prestigious honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, under her belt, Diana Ross is one of the most popular and influential singers of all time. In 1976, Billboard named her the Female Entertainer of the Century. She has influenced popular artists like Madonna, Beyoncé, and Michael Jackson.

 14 Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder
16
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, United States

American singer and songwriter, Stevie Wonder, is one of most influential and the best-selling musicians of all time. That Girl, Gotta Have You, I Just Called to Say I Love You, Part-Time Lover and Happy Birthday are some of his chartbuster songs. He has won many awards and accolades, including 25 Grammy Awards.

 15 Beyonce Knowles

Beyonce Knowles
247
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: September 4, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

Beyonce Knowles is a singer, songwriter, and actress. She developed an interest in music as a child. As a teenager, she became the lead singer of Destiny's Child, one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. As of today, she is one of the world's best-selling recording artists. 

 16 The Weeknd

The Weeknd
17
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 16, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Scarborough

One of the most successful Canadian recording artists, singer-songwriter, the Weeknd, holds several chart records and has won numerous awards, including three Grammy Awards. Despite a difficult childhood marred by drug abuse and violence, he persevered and worked hard to emerge as a beloved music star. He is actively involved in philanthropy.

 17 Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick
14
Famous As: Singer & Actress
Birthdate: December 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: City of Orange, New Jersey, United States

Dionne Warwick is an American singer, TV host, actress, and former FAO Goodwill Ambassador. Warwick was one of the most successful singers between 1955 and 1999, ranking among the 40 biggest hitmakers according to the Billboard Hot 100. 80 of her singles have been featured on Billboard's music charts, making Warwick one of the most-charted female singers in history. 

 18 Khalid (Singer)

Khalid (Singer)
38
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 11, 1998
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fort Stewart, Georgia

Khalid is an American singer-songwriter whose work in Logic’s hit single 1-800-273-8255 earned him a nomination at the Grammy Awards. He has also received prestigious awards, such as Billboard Music Awards, MTV Video Music Award, and American Music Awards. In 2019, he was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.

 19 Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae
13
Famous As: Soul Singer
Birthdate: December 1, 1985
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kansas City
Artist Janelle Monae initially sang with rapper Big Boi and is known for albums such as Dirty Computer. She has been nominated for the Grammys multiple times. Monae also appeared in films such as Hidden Figures and the Academy Award-winning drama Moonlight. She is both bisexual and pansexual.

 20 Johnny Mathis

Johnny Mathis
13
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 30, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gilmer, Texas, United States

Johnny Mathis is an American singer and songwriter. Best known for his contribution to popular music, Mathis has been honored with many awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award. Johnny Mathis is also renowned for his philanthropic efforts; he has supported such organizations as the American Cancer Society and Muscular Dystrophy Association.

 21 Ciara

Ciara
26
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 25, 1985
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Austin, Texas, United States

Ciara is an American singer-songwriter whose debut single, Goodies, earned her the title Princess of Crunk&B. Her songs, Goodies and Yeah!, are credited with introducing the substyle of contemporary R&B and crunk music called crunk&B to music lovers. Also a dancer and model, Ciara has had a major impact on the American entertainment industry for the past 10 years.

 22 Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton
17
Famous As: American R&B Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: October 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Severn
Soul and R&B sensation Toni Braxton initially performed with her sisters in The Braxtons. She won three of her seven Grammys with her debut album. Known for her Billboard-charters such as Un-break My Heart, she also collaborated with Babyface, competed in Dancing with the Stars, and produced Braxton Family Values.

 23 Usher

Usher
12
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: October 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States

 24 Teyana Taylor

Teyana Taylor
14
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 10, 1990
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Harlem, New York

R&B and hip-hop singer Teyana Taylor gained fame with MTV's My Super Sweet 16. She signed with Kanye West’s label and also appeared on the reality show Teyana and Iman, with her husband, NBA player Iman Shumpert. In December 2020, she announced her retirement from music through Instagram.

 25 Solange Knowles

Solange Knowles
19
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 24, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Solange Knowles, younger sister of pop star Beyoncé Knowles, initially performed as a back-up dancer and wrote songs for Beyoncé’s band Destiny's Child. She has delivered Grammy-winning tracks such as Cranes in the Sky and has also won an Impact Award. She also owns a hip-hop-themed children’s merchandise brand.

 26 Otis Redding

Otis Redding
10
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 9, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dawson, Georgia, United States
Died: December 10, 1967
The King of Soul Otis Redding, who had performed with the Pinetoppers, among others, is remembered for his track (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay, released after his death in a plane crash. It became the first posthumous Billboard R&B- and Hot 100-topping record. He also won two posthumous Grammys

 27 Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker
10
Famous As: Singer, Guitarist
Birthdate: May 13, 1966
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina
Darius Rucker gained fame as the lead singer and guitarist of the rock band Hootie & the Blowfish. He then launched a solo career, releasing Billboard-charting hits such as Wagon Wheel and True Believers. He became the first Black American singer to win the Country Music Association New Artist Award.

 28 Patti LaBelle

Patti LaBelle
20
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 24, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
The Godmother of Soul Patti LaBelle is best known for her chartbusting song Lady Marmalade, released with her group Labelle. She has had a successful solo career, too, winning multiple Grammys. She has appeared on her own TV shows, released cookbooks, and has launched her line of food and bedding.

 29 Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman
29
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 30, 1964
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

A four-time Grammy Award-winning artist, singer Tracy Chapman is best known for her hit single, Give Me One Reason. Interested in music from a young age, she learned to play multiple instruments as a child. She made her major-stage debut in 1985 and soon became a sensational hit. She is also known for her social activism.

 30 Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy
10
Famous As: Record Executive
Birthdate: November 28, 1929
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Detroit, MichiganDetroit, Michigan, United States

 31 Rozonda Thomas

Rozonda Thomas
12
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 27, 1971
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Rozonda Thomas, better known as Chilli, soared to fame as a member of the 1990s’ pop band TLC. She later founded the charity Chilli's Crew and also launched the handbag line Bags by Chilli. She has also released solo singles, produced a biopic, and starred in her own reality show.

 32 Seal

Seal
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 19, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England

Seal is a British singer and songwriter. He has received several prestigious awards over the course of his career. Also known for his charity work, Seal has performed at several charity events in an attempt to help non-profit organizations, such as the Make It Right Foundation.

 33 Billy Ocean

Billy Ocean
4
Famous As: Recording Artist
Birthdate: January 21, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fyzabad

Billy Ocean is a recording artist who achieved popularity in the 1980s when he became the most famous Trinidad–British R&B singer. Over the years, he has also been one of the most prominent supporters of the Rastafari movement. In the 2020 New Year Honours, Billy Ocean was appointed MBE for services to music.

 34 Keri Hilson

Keri Hilson
10
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Actor
Birthdate: December 5, 1982
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Decatur, Georgia, U.S.

Keri Hilson is an American singer, vocal arranger, songwriter, actress, and record producer. She is known for writing songs for popular artists like Mary J. Blige and Britney Spears. She often creates music that glorifies love, sexual intimacy, and womanhood. Also a well-known philanthropist, Hilson has contributed to various charities and relief efforts for natural disasters.

 35 Kevin Olusola

Kevin Olusola
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Beatboxer
Birthdate: October 5, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pasadena, California, United States

Kevin Olusola is an illustrious beatboxer of the a capella band Pentatonix. He is also seen playing the cello occasionally in their songs. Scott Hoying spotted him playing the cello in a viral video. The group has released eleven albums, garnered more than two million views on their YouTube channel and sold over two million records.

 36 Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 4, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Died: June 27, 2014

Bobby Womack began his career with his family band The Valentinos, after gaining a record deal with The Soul Stirrers singer Sam Cooke. He later began a solo career and became famous for tracks such as Lookin’ for a Love. He also contributed to the soundtrack of Across 110th Street.

 37 Shar Jackson

Shar Jackson
14
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 31, 1976
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

 38 Tiwa Savage

Tiwa Savage
7
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 5, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ikeja

Tiwa Savage is a Nigerian singer, actress, and songwriter. After having created an opportunity to establish herself in the United Kingdom, Savage returned to Nigeria and played an important role in elevating the Nigerian music industry. In 2018, she became the first woman to win the MTV Europe Music Award under the Best African Act category.

 39 Johnny Gill

Johnny Gill
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington DC

 40 Leslie Uggams

Leslie Uggams
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 25, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States

 41 Tionne Watkins

Tionne Watkins
15
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: April 26, 1970
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Des Moines, Iowa, United States

 42 Fleur East

Fleur East
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 29, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Walthamstow, London

Fleur East is an English rapper, singer, and songwriter. She is best known for her participation in the popular reality television music competition The X Factor where she finished second in 2014. She then went on to release her debut studio album Love, Sax and Flashbacks which peaked at number 12 on the Scottish Albums Chart.

 43 Nina Simone

Nina Simone
12
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Composer
Birthdate: February 21, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tryon
Died: April 21, 2003

Widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Nina Simone was a pioneering recording artist whose career was characterized by improvisational genius and fits of outrage. Nina continues to be an important musician and has influenced several artists like Elton John, Adele, David Bowie, Madonna, and Aretha Franklin. She was also a civil rights activist.

 44 Jazmine Sullivan

Jazmine Sullivan
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: April 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Jazmine Sullivan soared to fame with the Billboard-topping debut album Fearless. Born to a background vocalist mother, she began singing as part of gospel choirs. With 15 Grammy nominations, she has tied with Icelandic singer Björk, for the most Grammy nominations without a win for any female.

 45 Wizkid

Wizkid
8
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 16, 1990
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Surulere, Lagos

Nigerian singer Wizkid soared to fame with chart-busting tracks such as Holla at Your Boy. A performer who has revolutionized the Afrobeats genre, Wizkid supported Nigeria’s End SARS protests against police brutality, on social media. In 2011, he was part of a paternity scandal but denied having fathered a child.

 46 Cedella Marley

Cedella Marley
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 23, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

 47 Alex Newell

Alex Newell
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 20, 1992
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lynn, Massachusetts, United States

 48 Ronald Isley

Ronald Isley
3
Famous As: Recording artist
Birthdate: May 21, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

 49 India Arie

India Arie
6
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 3, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, USA

 50 Toro y Moi

Toro y Moi
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 7, 1986
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Columbia, South Carolina, United States