Harvard Hiphop Archive’s Mike Davis and Twin Brother Mark Davis Create Trending ‘Blackish’ Animated Short
On Tuesday, October 3, an animated short directed by Harvard’s own Mike Davis and his identical twin brother Mark (collectively known as The Madtwiinz) aired during the Season 4 Premiere of ABC’s hit comedy Blackish. Created by one of Hollywood's hottest writers, Kenya Barris - Blackish has received critical acclaim, receiving many awards and nominations including an Emmy and Golden Globes. The animation features a score by The Roots – a three-time Grammy Award-winning group and the house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The twins directed a team of animators through their imprint Madtwiinz alongside Chase Conley and Damil Bryant of Level 2 Entertainment. The animated short was a Schoolhouse Rock-style video that discussed a brief history of slavery in the United States, emancipation, and Juneteenth – a celebration commemorating the freeing of slaves in Texas on June 19, 1865, a month after the official end of the Civil War.
Cambridge natives Mike and Mark Davis, make up the two-man art team known as The Madtwiinz. They work in the fields of animation, comic books, toy design, fashion and live action film. Their dynamic style has led to projects with major Hollywood studios and on a wide range of animated TV shows from Boondocks to How To Train Your Dragon: Riders of Berk. Their creator-owned intellectual property, Blokhedz, has been published as a graphic novel in Germany, South America, and in North America by Simon & Schuster. Blokhedz also landed a development deal with Cartoon Network. In the words of Russell Simmons, “Blokhedz is not a watered-down version of street life” and “will sensitize people to the plight of poor people.” Famed comic book creator Stan Lee (Spiderman, X-Men) also praised Blokhedz: “the artwork is fantastic and the story couldn’t be more real.”
Currently, Mike works at Harvard University’s Hiphop Archive and Research Institute (HARI) as Director of Creative Branding and Development, and separately at Harvard’s Department of Digital Teaching and Learning as a Senior Production Artist. His brother Mark works as a Story Artist at DreamWorks.
Whether animated TV shows, comics, or crafting original pieces for international art shows and Harvard exhibitions, the style of The Madtwiinz is constantly evolving while they continue to create engaging content across numerous media platforms.