African-American female singers

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  1. Nicki Minaj

    Nicki Minaj


    Onika Tanya Maraj (born December 8, 1982), better known by her stage name Nicki Minaj (/mɪˈnɑːʒ/), is a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer, songwriter and actress. Born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago and raised in South Jamaica, Queens, New York, Minaj earned public attention after releasing three mixtapes between 2007–09. She signed a recording contract with Young Money Entertainment in 2009.

  2. Tyra Banks

    Tyra Banks


    Tyra Lynne Banks (born December 4, 1973) is an American model, television personality, talk show host, producer, author, actress, singer and business woman.

  3. Whitney Houston

    Whitney Houston


    Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston is one of pop music's best-selling music artists of all-time, with an estimated 170–200 million records sold worldwide. She released six studio albums, one holiday album and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification. Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts, as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for "How Will I Know", influenced several African American women artists who follow in her footsteps.

  4. Tina Turner

    Tina Turner


    Anna Mae Bullock (born November 26, 1939), better known by her stage name Tina Turner, is a singer, dancer, actress, and author, whose career has spanned more than half a century, earning her widespread recognition and numerous awards. Born and raised in the Southeastern United States, she is now a Swiss citizen.

  5. Janet Jackson

    Janet Jackson


    Janet Damita Jo Jackson (born May 16, 1966) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Known for a series of sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows, television and film roles, she has been a prominent figure in popular culture for over 25 years. The youngest child of the Jackson family, she began her career with the variety television series The Jacksons in 1976 and went on to appear in other television shows throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, including Good Times and Fame.

  6. Aaliyah



    Aaliyah Dana Haughton (/.ˈl.ə/) (January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001) was an American singer, dancer, actress, and model. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 10, she appeared on the television show Star Search and performed in concert alongside Gladys Knight. At age 12, Aaliyah signed with Jive Records and her uncle Barry Hankerson's Blackground Records. Hankerson introduced her to R. Kelly, who became her mentor, as well as lead songwriter and producer of her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing but a Number. The album sold three million copies in the United States and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). After facing allegations of an illegal marriage with R. Kelly, Aaliyah ended her contract with Jive and signed with Atlantic Records.

  7. Keke Palmer

    Keke Palmer


    Lauren Keyana "Keke" Palmer (born August 26, 1993) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and television personality. Palmer was born in Harvey, Illinois and raised in Robbins, Illinois. After Palmer's film debut, Palmer and her family moved to California to help her pursue a career in acting. Palmer released her debut album, So Uncool, on September 18, 2007 through Atlantic Records. The album failed to chart on the US Billboard 200 but did chart at number 85 on the R&B chart. The album was preceded by the lead single "Keep It Movin'".

  8. Taraji P. Henson

    Taraji P. Henson


    Taraji Penda Henson (born September 11, 1970) is an American actress and singer. Henson studied acting at Howard University and began her Hollywood career in guest-roles on several television shows before making her breakthrough in Baby Boy (2001). In 2005, she starred in Hustle & Flow and played Queenie in David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), for which she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 2010, she appeared in the comedy Date Night and co-starred in the remake of The Karate Kid. In 2012, Henson was in the large ensemble cast film Think Like A Man and reprised her role in its sequel.

  9. Willow Smith

    Willow Smith


    Willow Camille Reign Smith (born October 31, 2000), known professionally as Willow is an American singer, actress and dancer. She is the daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, and the younger sister of Jaden Smith and half-sister of Willard Carroll "Trey" Smith III. Smith made her acting debut in 2007 in the film I Am Legend and later appeared in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl alongside Abigail Breslin. She received a Young Artist Award for her performance.

  10. Cassie Ventura

    Cassie Ventura


    Casandra Elizabeth Ventura (born August 26, 1986), known mononymously as Cassie, is an American recording artist, dancer, actress and model. Born in New London, Connecticut, she began her career as a result of meeting record producer Ryan Leslie in late 2002, who later signed her to NextSelection Lifestyle Group. During this time, Diddy heard "Me & U" in a club, and Leslie convinced him to partner his Bad Boy Records with Leslie's NextSelection imprint for the release of Cassie's debut album.

  11. Diana Ross

    Diana Ross


    Diana Ernestine Earle Ross (born March 26, 1944) is an American singer, actress, record producer and an occasional songwriter. Born and raised in Detroit, she rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the vocal group The Supremes, which, during the 1960s, became Motown's most successful act and is to this day America's most successful vocal group as well as one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time. As part of the Supremes, Ross most notably rivaled the career of The Beatles in worldwide popularity, and her success made it possible for future African American R&B and soul acts to find mainstream success. The group set a record scoring twelve number-one hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 including the hits "Where Did Our Love Go", "Baby Love", "Come See About Me", "Stop! In the Name of Love", "You Can't Hurry Love", "You Keep Me Hangin' On", "Love Child" and "Someday We'll Be Together".

  12. Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas

    Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas


    Rozonda Ocelean "Chilli" Thomas (born February 27, 1971) is an American dancer, singer-songwriter, actress, and television personality who rose to fame in the early 1990s as a member of group TLC, one of the best-selling girl groups of all time.

  13. Vanessa Williams

    Vanessa Williams


    Vanessa Lynn Williams (born March 18, 1963) is an American actress and singer who is particularly well known for her roles as Wilhelmina Slater in Ugly Betty, Renee Perry in Desperate Housewives, and Teri Joseph in the 1997 feature film Soul Food. She initially gained recognition as the first African American woman to win the title of Miss America (during the Miss America 1984 pageant on September 17, 1983). Seven weeks before the end of her reign, however, a scandal arose when Penthouse magazine bought and published unauthorized nude photographs of Williams. She relinquished her title and was succeeded by the first runner-up, Miss New Jersey 1983, Suzette Charles. Williams rebounded by launching a career as an entertainer, earning multiple Grammy and Emmy nominations and a Tony Award nomination. She is also the recipient of 7 NAACP Image Award and 3 Satellite Awards. In September, 2015 at the Miss America 2016 pageant, Miss America CEO Sam Haskell apologized to Williams (who was serving as head judge) for what was said to her by the Miss America Organization during the events of 1984.

  14. Nicole Richie

    Nicole Richie


    Nicole Camille Richie (born Nicole Camille Escovedo; September 21, 1981) is an American fashion designer, author, actress and television personality. Richie rose to prominence for her role in the Fox reality television series, The Simple Life, alongside her childhood best friend and fellow socialite Paris Hilton, which lasted five seasons. The Simple Life was a hit for the Fox network, premiering with 13 million viewers, and brought Richie and Hilton to international recognition. Richie's personal life attracted significant media attention during The Simple Life's five-year run and she was a constant fixture of tabloid journalism before and after her appearance. Hilton and Richie are often given the distinction of being the first pair of socialites to become "famous for being famous" through reality television.

  15. Jill Scott

    Jill Scott


    Jill Scott (born April 4, 1972) is an American singer-songwriter, model and actress. Her 2000 debut, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1, went platinum, and the followups Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2 (2004) and The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3 (2007) both achieved gold status. She made her cinematic debut in the films Hounddog and Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? in 2007. Scott released her fourth album The Light of the Sun. Get On Up (2014) she plays the second wife of James Brown. She also appeared as the lead role in the BBC/HBO series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. In 2015, she had released her fifth album Woman.

  16. Fantasia Barrino

    Fantasia Barrino


    Fantasia Monique Barrino (born June 30, 1984) known by the mononym Fantasia, is an American R&B singer-songwriter, actress, and author. She rose to fame as the winner of the third season of the reality television series American Idol in 2004. Following her victory, she released her debut single, "I Believe," which debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Subsequently, she released her debut album, Free Yourself, which went on to be certified Platinum by the RIAA and garnered Barrino three Grammy nominations in 2006.

  17. Solange Knowles

    Solange Knowles


    Solange Piaget Knowles (born June 24, 1986) is an American singer, songwriter, model, and actress. Knowles was born in Houston, Texas to Mathew and Tina Knowles, both of whom left their careers to support her older sister Beyoncé's recording interests. Expressing an interest in music from an early age, Knowles had several temporary stints in Destiny's Child, before signing with her father's Music World Entertainment label. Aged sixteen, Knowles released her first studio album Solo Star (2003) to moderate commercial and critical success.

  18. Teyana Taylor

    Teyana Taylor


    Teyana Taylor (born December 10, 1990), is an American recording artist and actress from Harlem, New York. In 2007, Taylor signed a recording contract with American musician Pharrell Williams' Star Trak Entertainment imprint, before making her first national appearance on MTV's My Super Sweet 16. In 2012, she signed to Kanye West's GOOD Music label and The Island Def Jam Music Group, after asking for her release from Star Trak.

  19. Dorothy Dandridge

    Dorothy Dandridge


    Dorothy Jean Dandridge (November 9, 1922 – September 8, 1965) was an African-American film and theatre actress, singer and dancer. She is perhaps best known for being the first black actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 1954 film Carmen Jones. Dandridge performed as a vocalist in venues such as the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater. During her early career, she performed as a part of The Wonder Children, later The Dandridge Sisters and appeared in a succession of films, usually in uncredited roles. In 1959, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Porgy and Bess. She is the subject of the 1999 HBO biographical film, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. She has been recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Dandridge was married and divorced twice, first to dancer Harold Nicholas (the father of her daughter, Harolyn Suzanne) and then to hotel owner Jack Denison. Dandridge died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 42.

  20. Olivia Longott

    Olivia Longott


    Olivia Theresa Longott (born February 15, 1981 in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.), professionally known as Olivia, is an American R&B singer best known for contributing vocals to 50 Cent's hit single "Candy Shop" and her debut album Olivia. She was also a regular cast member in the first three seasons (2011–13) of the VH1 reality television series Love & Hip Hop.

  21. Countess Vaughn

    Countess Vaughn


    Countess Danielle Vaughn (born August 8, 1978) is an American actress and singer. Vaughn is best known for her role as Kimberly Ann Parker on the UPN sitcoms Moesha (1996–1999) and its spin-off The Parkers (1999–2004).

  22. Lena Horne

    Lena Horne


    Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010) was an American singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist.

  23. Chaka Khan

    Chaka Khan


    Chaka Khan (born Yvette Marie Stevens, March 23, 1953) is an American singer-songwriter whose career has spanned four decades, beginning in the 1970s as the frontwoman and focal point of the funk band Rufus. Widely known as the Queen of Funk, Khan has won ten Grammys and has sold an estimated 70 million records worldwide. She has seven gold singles, seven gold albums, and three platinum albums.

  24. Billie Holiday

    Billie Holiday


    Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan; April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) was an American jazz singer and songwriter.

  25. Gladys Knight

    Gladys Knight


    Gladys Maria Knight (born May 28, 1944), known as the "Empress of Soul", is an American recording artist, songwriter, businesswoman, humanitarian and author. A seven-time Grammy Award-winner, she is best known for the hits she recorded during the 1960s and 1970s, for both the Motown and Buddah Records labels, with her group Gladys Knight & the Pips, which also included her brother Merald "Bubba" Knight and her cousins Edward Patten and William Guest.

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