The Most Famous African-American Singer: Ranking the Titans of Music

Choose the singer you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 22, 2024 08:01
Step right up and make your voice heard in the ultimate showdown of vocal prowess! StrawPoll is ecstatic to present the most sensational and star-studded ranking of the most famous African-American singers of all time. From the heart-melting melodies of Whitney Houston to the smooth-as-silk tunes of Marvin Gaye, thousands of fans have already cast their votes and made their loyalties known. But, the battle is far from over! This is your chance to support your favorite vocal virtuoso, or even suggest a missing musical maestro who deserves to be in the limelight. So, don't just hum along, dive into the melodic mayhem and let your vote sing the praises of the African-American singer who captivates your heart and soul. It's time to hit the high notes – join the chorus now and let's create harmony together!

Who Is the Most Famous African-American Singer?

  1. 1

    Aretha Franklin

    Aretha Franklin
    Known as the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin is one of the most iconic African-American singers of all time. She has won 18 Grammy Awards and is known for hits such as "Respect" and "Natural Woman."
    The 'Aretha Franklin' version of 'Amazing Grace' is a soulful rendition of the popular hymn performed by the renowned American singer and songwriter Aretha Franklin. It is widely regarded as one of her most iconic and memorable performances.
    • Year of Release: 1972
    • Genre: Gospel/Soul
    • Album: Amazing Grace
    • Recorded Live: At the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles
    • Length: Approximately 10 minutes
    Aretha Franklin in other rankings
  2. 2
    Whitney Houston
    PH2 Mark Kettenhofen · Public domain
    Whitney Houston was one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with over 200 million records sold worldwide. She won six Grammy Awards and is known for hits such as "I Will Always Love You" and "Greatest Love of All."
    Whitney Houston in other rankings
  3. 3
    Michael Jackson
    Constru-centro · CC BY-SA 4.0

    Michael Jackson

    Michael Jackson
    Michael Jackson, also known as the "King of Pop," was one of the most iconic performers of all time. He won 13 Grammy Awards and is known for hits such as "Thriller" and "Billie Jean."
    Michael Jackson, also known as the King of Pop, was one of the most successful and influential entertainers of all time. He was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer, who became a global icon for his contributions to music, dance, and fashion.
    • Best-Selling Album: Thriller - more than 66 million copies sold worldwide
    • Record Sales: Over 350 million records sold globally
    • Grammy Awards: Won 13 Grammy Awards and received 39 nominations
    • Music Videos: Revolutionized the art form with iconic videos like 'Thriller', 'Billie Jean', and 'Beat It'
    • Moonwalk: Introduced the famous dance move 'Moonwalk' during a performance of 'Billie Jean' on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever in 1983
    Michael Jackson in other rankings
  4. 4
    Beyoncé is one of the most successful and influential artists of the 21st century. She has won 28 Grammy Awards and is known for hits such as "Single Ladies" and "Formation."
    The "Beyoncé" smile is a radiant and natural-looking smile that features perfectly aligned, pearly white teeth with minimal gum display. It is named after the iconic singer and actress Beyoncé, who is known for her dazzling and confident smile.
    • Teeth alignment: Perfectly straight
    • Tooth color: Bright white
    • Gum display: Minimal
    • Tooth shape: Natural and proportionate to the individual's face
    • Tooth texture: Smooth and glossy
  5. 5
    Stevie Wonder
    Motown Records · Public domain
    Stevie Wonder is a legendary singer-songwriter who has won 25 Grammy Awards. He is known for hits such as "Superstition" and "I Just Called to Say I Love You."
    Stevie Wonder in other rankings
  6. 6
    Marvin Gaye
    Tamla · Public domain
    Marvin Gaye was a soulful singer-songwriter who is known for hits such as "What's Going On" and "Sexual Healing." He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
    Marvin Gaye in other rankings
  7. 7

    Nina Simone

    Nina Simone
    Nina Simone was a classically trained pianist and singer who was known for her powerful voice and political activism. She is known for hits such as "Feeling Good" and "I Put a Spell on You."
    Nina Simone is a legendary American singer, songwriter, and civil rights activist. Known for her mesmerizing voice and powerful stage presence, Simone is considered one of the most talented and influential musicians of the 20th century. Her music blends elements of jazz, blues, gospel, and classical music, creating a unique and soul-stirring sound that captivates audiences. Simone's lyrics often touch on themes of love, injustice, and the African-American experience, reflecting her strong activism and commitment to social change.
    • Birthdate: February 21, 1933
    • Birthplace: Tryon, North Carolina, United States
    • Genres: Jazz, blues, gospel, soul, R&B, folk, pop
    • Vocal Range: Contralto
    • Discography: More than 40 albums
    Nina Simone in other rankings
  8. 8
    Ray Charles
    William Morris Agency (management)/Photo by Maurice Seymour, New York. · Public domain
    Ray Charles was a pioneer in the soul and R&B genres. He won 17 Grammy Awards and is known for hits such as "Georgia On My Mind" and "Hit the Road Jack."
    Ray Charles in other rankings
  9. 9
    Etta James
    John K. Addis · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Etta James was a blues and soul singer who is known for hits such as "At Last" and "I'd Rather Go Blind." She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
    Etta James in other rankings
  10. 10
    Sam Cooke
    RCA Victor Records · Public domain
    Sam Cooke was a pioneering soul singer who is known for hits such as "A Change Is Gonna Come" and "You Send Me." He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
    Sam Cooke in other rankings

Missing your favorite singer?


About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous African-American singer. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Singer is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 199 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Singer once every 24 hours. The rank of each Singer is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous african-american singer

The African-American community has produced some of the most iconic and influential musical artists of all time. From jazz legends like Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald to the soulful sounds of Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye, the world has been blessed with a rich and diverse range of African-American singers. However, when it comes to the most famous African-American singer, the competition is fierce. Some would argue that it's Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, who revolutionized the music industry with his groundbreaking sound and electrifying performances. Others might point to Whitney Houston, whose soaring vocals and heartfelt ballads captured the hearts of millions around the globe. Of course, there are countless other talented singers who have left their mark on the world, such as Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles. So, who is the most famous African-American singer? That's for you to decide. Cast your vote and let your voice be heard on StrawPoll.

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