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The contribution of black singers to the global music industry can never be neglected. And the interesting part is that they aren’t in the majority.
Yes! While doing research, I came across some statistics in which it was mentioned that more than 73% of the singers in the industry are white.
The black singers only make up around 4%. You heard that right. There are less than 5% of black singers in the industry, yet their impact has lasted longer than many whites.
I remember listening to Akon’s famous “Bananza” song, released in 2004, and later, in 2021, this song regained the attention of the masses in Instagram reels and TikTok videos.
Akon has given out a lot of cult classic songs, and wait, that is not the only thing Akon is famous for; he is also a real-life superhero.
Back in 2014, he proposed a project named “Akon Lighting Africa.” If completed successfully, this project will provide electricity to millions of Africans.
So, let’s talk more about Akon and some other best black singers without further ado.
I always like to start things off with my favorite artist whenever I talk about singers or rappers. For that reason, this 49-year-old black singer, Akon, tops this list.
His birthday falls on the 16th of April, and his birth year is 1973. He landed in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam is his birth name.
However, he was born in the USA; he isn’t just an American but also a Senegalese. He didn’t stay in the USA for long and went to Senegal with his family.
This black singer spent a big portion of his early life in Senegal, Africa, and his dad was an African, and that is why he has African roots.
Akon refers to Senegal as his hometown. To his luck, his dad was a drummer, and his mom was a dancer. His dad taught him to play drums, guitar, and other musical instruments.
When he was seven years old, his parents went to New Jersey, New York. He didn’t get along with other kids at his school, and when he got enrolled in high school, his folks thought that it was high time they left them on their own.
Did I tell you that this black singer is a Muslim? I don’t know if he is a practicing one, but he is one. He entered the industry in 1996. This black singer has six kids.
As I mentioned above, he created the organization “Akon Lighting Africa” to provide electricity to millions of Africans.
He has already raised four billion out of the needed six billion dollars. “Trouble” was his very first studio album, which was released in 2004.
“Konvicted” was his 2nd, “Freedom” was his 3rd, “El Negreeto” was his 4th, and “Akonda” was his 5th album, released in 2006, 2008, 2019, and 2019, respectively.
“Hold My Hand” is among this black singer’s top songs.
Akon’s Instagram following: 7.7 million+
Spotify monthly listeners: 16.2 million+
SoundCloud following: 159,000+
This black singer was born on the 25th of October 1985 in Fort Hood, Texas, USA. She is 36 years old, and she has three kids.
Ciara Princess Wilson is her complete name. Her dad was an Army officer who died serving his country. Inasmuch she and her family kept changing their residences in accordance with their father’s posting.
Mostly, her folks lived in Arizona, Utah, California, and Nevada before eventually settling in Atlanta, Georgia. This black singer has had a keen interest in music since she was a teenager.
So, she created a group named “Hearsay” with a couple of her friends. They got along with each other pretty well for some time and worked on several small musical projects.
But things didn’t work out as they wanted, and their group was dismantled. From then on, she began pursuing her solo career.
At first, she was not actually a singer but a songwriter. She used to write songs for famous musical bands. She also wrote songs for Fantasia Barrino (whom I’ll talk about later in this list).
This black singer has been married to Russell Wilson since 2016. Before marrying Russell, she was in a serious relationship with the famous rapper, Future (Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn).
Ciara released her 1st album, “Goodies,” in 2004. Then two years later, she gave out “Ciara: The Evolution” in 2006. “Fantasy Ride” was her third studio album.
“1, 2 Step” is considered to be among this black singer’s best songs.
Ciara’s Instagram following: 31.6 million+
Spotify monthly listeners: 8.2 million+
SoundCloud following: 5.35 million+
Solána Imani Rowe is this black singer’s birth name. Her birth date is the 8th of November 1989, and her birthplace is St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Rowe is around 32 years old. However, she was born in St. Louis; her family moved to New Jersey, New York, after some time, and that is where she spent most of her early life.
Her dad used to work for CNN as an executive producer, and her mom used to work for the famous telecommunication company, AT&T.
Imani’s dad was a Muslim, and her mom was a Christian. She was more attracted to Islam than Christianity when she was a kid.
It doesn’t mean that her father imposed his religion on his kids. In an interview, she said that the concept of one God and all other pillars of Islam would never leave her.
She said that all the things that Islam preaches made complete sense, including the hijab. This black singer used to wear the hijab during her early years in school.
But as time went on, she began facing a lot of criticism and bullying. That’s why this black singer had to stop wearing the hijab.
Moreover, the profession (singing) she chose to pursue didn’t have many artists who wore the hijab while performing on the stage; to be honest, there were none.
She joined the music industry in 2011, and she is still in it. Six years later, in 2017, she gave out her first album, “Ctrl.”
“Kiss Me More” is said to be among SZA’s most famous songs.
SZA’s Instagram following: 11.9 million+
Spotify monthly listeners: 32.6 million+
SoundCloud following: 151,000+
Mary J. Blige
During her career, she has won nine Grammy Awards and many other awards as well. Her birthday falls on the 11th of January, and her birth year is 1971.
She was born in New York City, USA. Mary Jane Blige is her complete name. She is 51 years old. She has three siblings.
Her mom was a nurse, and her dad was a musician. I don’t know this for sure, but I’m confident that her dad inspired her to join the music industry.
Most of her early life was spent in Georgia. But after some time, they came back to New York. Her dad was also a U.S Army personnel who also fought in the Vietnam War.
The war had a huge impact on the psychological well-being of her dad, and he was traumatized by the Vietnam War.
Because of that, her dad left this black singer’s family on their own, and their bad days started, as her mom was the only person supporting the family financially.
Not only that, but Mary also fell victim to sexual harassment and molestation by her close relatives. She began taking drugs and drinking to cope with all this.
She decided to become a singer and eventually became one in 1988. After four years, she released her 1st album, “What’s the 411?” in 1992.
“Not Gon’ Cry” is among her top songs.
Mary’s Instagram following: 6 million+
Spotify monthly listeners: 9.5 million+
SoundCloud following: 37,200+
Brandy joined the music industry in 1993, and it has been around three decades (29 years) since she has been doing this.
She was just fourteen years old when she officially became a singer. Brandy Rayana Norwood is her complete name.
This black singer was born on the 11th of February 1979 in McComb, Mississippi, USA. She is 43 years old today.
Brandy is the daughter of the famous gospel singer Willie Norwood. Her mom works for a tax collection company, “H&R Block.”
She is the cousin of Snoop Dogg and Sasha Banks. She is a Christian as she was born to a Christian family, so it is difficult to say whether Brandy is a practicing Christian or not.
At first, she used to sing in church choirs of her hometown. Then her folks came to California. While in school, she was a die-hard fan of Whitney Houston, whom she idolized.
Like many famous artists, no one believed that she could become a famous singer. For that reason, she took matters into her own hands and started participating in singing contests.
“Brandy” was her debut album, which came out in 1994. After four years, she released her second album, “Never Say Never,” released in 1998.
“The Boy Is Mine” is said to be this black singer’s biggest hit.
Brandy’s Instagram following: 5.5 million+
Spotify monthly listeners: 4.7 million+
SoundCloud following: 5,100+
She was born on the 26th of February 1971 in Dallas, Texas, USA. She is 51 years old. Erica Abi Wright is her complete name.
Besides singing, she has also made an impact as a songwriter, actress, and record producer. Throughout her life, she has been in five relationships.
Her first partner was André 3000, who is a famous rapper. She dated him from 1995 to 1999. Common (rapper) was her 2nd, and The D.O.C. was her 3rd partner.
Jay Electronica was her 4th, and Carl Jones was his fifth partner. Unfortunately, all five of her relationships ended. She has three kids.
When she was just four years old, she started performing as a dancer and singer. She considered her name from Erica to Erykah at the beginning of her career.
Throughout her career, this black singer has worked with three labels: Control Freaq, Motown Records, and Universal Records.
1994 was the year she officially joined the music industry as a singer. “Baduizm” was her debut album, which was released in 1997.
“Mama’s Gun,” “Worldwide Underground,” “New Amerykah Part One,” and “New Amerykah Part Two” are his 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th, which came out in 2000, 2003, 2008, and 2010, respectively.
“Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip Hop)” is among his top songs.
Badu’s Instagram following: 5.4 million+
Spotify monthly listeners: 2.7 million+
SoundCloud following: 103,000+
Solange Piaget Knowles is her complete name. Her birth date is the 24th of June 1986 in Houston, Texas, USA.
Knowles has worked with five labels in her career. Those labels are Music World, Columbia Records, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Terrible Records, and Saint.
This black singer is the sister of the famous black singer Beyonce. She has married twice so far, and she has one kid.
First, she tied the knot with Daniel Smith in 2004, and three years later, in 2007, they got divorced. Seven years later, she married Alan Ferguson in 2014, but they also got separated in 2019.
She has been doing this for more than two decades (21+ years). She joined the music industry in 2001 and gave her first album in 2002, named “Solo Star.”
“Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams” was her second album, which was released in 2008.
“A Seat At The Table” and “When I Get Home” are her third and fourth albums, released in 2016 and 2019, respectively.
Among her many great songs, “Almeda” stands out as the biggest hit.
Solange’s Instagram following: 5.4 million+
Spotify monthly listeners: 2.3 million+
SoundCloud following: No official SoundCloud account.
This is the black singer I was talking about earlier in this list. She is the one Ciara used to write songs for when Ciara was starting.
Anyways, Fantasia is among the best musical artists in the industry. She is 37 years old. Her birthday falls on the 30th of June, and her birth year is 1984.
She was born in High Point, North Carolina, USA. Her complete name is Fantasia Monique Barrino. She has four kids.
Luckily, her marriage has been working just fine for seven years, as she married Kendall Taylor in 2015.
In 2005, she wrote a book in which she made some claims about her dad, whom her dad refuted categorically, and sued her for a whopping ten million$.
She became a singer officially in 2004 and gave out her debut album the same year, named “Free Yourself.” This album sold around 250,000 copies.
“When I See You” is considered this black singer’s best hit song.
Fantasia’s Instagram following: 4.7 million+
Spotify monthly listeners: 1.7 million+
SoundCloud following: No official SoundCloud following.
She is 54 years old and is regarded as among the best-selling artists in the industry. It has been 32 years since she stepped into the industry.
Braxton’s actual name is Toni Michele Braxton. She was born on the 7th of October 1967 in Severn, Maryland, USA. She has two kids.
Toni tied the knot with Keri Lewis in 2001; twelve years later, in 2013, they got divorced. After that, she started dating the famous rapper, Birdman in 2016, and they are still together.
She is also a famous TV personality. Once, she was filling gas at the pump, and, according to her, she heard herself singing, and she was great at what she was doing.
That was the point when she started making efforts to become a singer, and eventually, in 1989, she joined the industry at the age of 22.
“Toni Braxton” was her 1st studio album, released in 1993. “Secrets.” “The Heat,” “Snowflakes,” and “More Than A Woman” are some of her other hit albums.
“Un-Break My Heart” is said to be this black singer’s biggest hit.
Toni’s Instagram following: 4 million+
Spotify monthly listeners: 3.5 million+
SoundCloud following: Almost 10,000.
In her career, she has given out four studio albums so far. “Jennifer Hudson” was her first one, and “I Remember Me” was her second.
Jennifer is 40 years old, as she was born on the 12th of September 1981 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Jennifer Kate Hudson is her complete name.
She says Patti LaBelle (whom I’ll talk about later in this list) is among the few musical artists who inspired and influenced her to become a singer.
Righteous Records was the first label Hudson began working with at the beginning of her career. She signed a five-year contract with the label; however, she asked for a release from the contract to appear on the American Idol.
Her request was granted. In 2014, she gave out her third studio album, “JHUD,” and seven years later, “Respect (her fourth album)” came out in 2021.
“Spotlight” is among her most famous songs.
Jennifer’s Instagram following: 3.5 million+
Spotify monthly listeners: 2.1 million+
SoundCloud following: 10,500+
Besides singing, she has also gained a lot through acting. She is 50 years old, as she was born on the 4th of April 1972 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Jill Heather Scott is her complete name, and she stepped into the industry in 1999. She didn’t have much of an interaction with her dad in her childhood, as this black singer used to live with her grandmother and mom.
When she grew up, she had to work two jobs to support her family financially, so that’s what she did. As harsh and difficult as it was, there was no other option.
She even worked as a teacher’s aide for some time, but she didn’t develop much interest in this profession, so she left the job and the college.
1999 was the year she became a singer, and in 2000, she gave out her first album, named “Who Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds Vol. 1.”
Among her many songs, “A Long Walk” is said to be the best.
Jill’s Instagram following: 2.8 million+
Spotify monthly listeners: 1.2 million+
SoundCloud following: No official SoundCloud account.
Patti is a veteran black singer who has been doing this for more than six decades (62 years). She was the inspiration for Jennifer Hudson.
Not only Hudson, but she has also been an inspiration for many musical artists in the world. She is 77 years old.
Her birthday falls on the 24th of May, and her birth year is 1944, which means she was born when World War 2 was at its peak.
LaBelle joined the industry in 1960 at the age of sixteen. Patricia Louise Holte is her birth name.
She has released around 20 studio albums since her debut, and “Patti LaBelle” was her 1st one, which came on in 1977.
“On My Own” is among the top songs sung by this black singer.
LaBelle’s Instagram following: 1 million+
Spotify monthly listeners: 1.4 million+
SoundCloud following: Almost 1,000.
I was beginning to wonder, “is it an all-women list?” Eventually, a black male singer made his way to this list, who’s none other than Darius Rucker.
Darius is 55 years old. His birth date is the 13th of May 1966, and his birthplace is Charleston, South Carolina, USA.
His complete name is Darius Carlos Rucker. He officially became a singer in 1986; he was 20 years old at the time.
It took him sixteen years to release his 1st solo studio album, “Back To Then,” in 2002. “Learn To Live” was his 2nd, and “Charleston, SC 1966” was his 3rd album, released in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
Among his biggest hits is “Wagon Wheel.”
Darius’ Instagram following: Almost 700,000.
Spotify monthly listeners: 5.6 million+
SoundCloud following: 10,200+
Yvette Marie Stevens is her real name. She was born on the 23rd of March 1953 in Chicago, Illinois, USA, and her age is 69 years.
Her fans also call her Chaka Adunne Aduffe and Yemoja Hodarhi Karifi Khan sometimes. She has won around ten Grammy Awards throughout her career.
She is also among the best-selling artists of her time. It has been more than five decades (52+ years) since she has been at it.
1970 was the year she stepped into the industry, and after eight years, she gave out her debut album, “Chaka,” in 1978.
Chaka has released around 13 studio albums so far and dozens of songs. Among those songs, “I’m Every Woman” is the best.
Khan’s Instagram following: 668,000+
Spotify monthly listeners: 4.1 million+
SoundCloud following: 2,300+
And lastly, we have the “Empress Of Soul,” Gladys Knight, who is 77 years old. Her complete name is Gladys Maria Knight.
Her birth date is the 28th of May 1944, and her birthplace is Atlanta, Georgia, USA. This black singer has won the Grammy Award seven times in her career so far.
“Miss Gladys Knight” was her 1st album, which was released in 1978. The next year, in 1979, she gave out her second album, “Gladys Knight.”
“Midnight Train To Georgia” is considered to be among her best songs.
Gladys’ Instagram following: 444,000+
Spotify monthly listeners: 560,000+
SoundCloud following: 700+
I have talked about some of the best black singers in the industry. Among them, my favorite is Akon. Let me know in the comments about your favorite black singer. I’ll wait. Thanks.