Malaika Favorite (b. 1949) is a Baton Rouge artist and poet who works in a variety of mediums including oils, acrylics, and lithography. A talented artist from a young age, Favorite received early praise for her childhood art projects and was even paid to create artworks for Dutchtown Elementary when she was a student at the school.
As a high school student in the 1960s, Favorite entered the frontlines of the civil rights movement when she integrated the previously all white Dutchtown High School. During this time she was harassed both at school and at home. After graduating, Favorite attended Louisiana State University, where she faced further discrimination. In response, she became an activist in her community, speaking out against racism and other central political issues of the era. Favorite continued her studies even as she advocated for civil rights, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1971 and a Master of Fine Arts in painting and drawing in 1973.
After graduation Favorite taught art classes at the university level and completed several artist-in-residence programs. In 1995 she left the academic world to focus on creating art full time. It was during this time that Favorite moved to Atlanta. In the city she became active in creating public art, receiving commissions to create works for senior centers, historical black districts, and even the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. Favorite returned to Baton Rouge in 2016. Her work belongs to a number of fine art collections and is featured in Art: African American by Samella Lewis; Black Art in Louisiana by Bernardine B. Proctor; and the St. James Guide to Black Artists, edited by Thomas Riggs.
Malaika Favorite, Untitled, c. 1980. Ink and watercolor on paper. Gift of Carol and Ken Gikas Louisiana Art & Science Museum Collection, 2019.001.002