- Jackson State University
Dathan Thigpen is a native of Jackson, Mississippi, and a class of 1998 graduate of Forest Hill High School. While in JPS, Mr. Thigpen began his music journey at Casey Elementary, Morrison Elementary, and APAC. “JPS has been very instrumental in my success in music,” said Thigpen. “I started off at Casey Elementary, where I played the violin and sang. I also attended Morrison Elementary where I sang in the choir.” Some of his fondest memories of JPS were spent at APAC. “That’s where I met a lot of friends, learned about my craft, learned about how far I can go and my limitations.”
Dathan continued to hone his skills in music as part of the legendary Mississippi Mass Choir. He's also been featured on albums by John P. Kee, Benjamin Cone, III, and the Mississippi Children's Choir. The Atlanta-based entertainer was featured on the "Wedding Songs" compilation in 2007, a remake of K-Ci & JoJo's "All My Life."
Dathan is also a talented actor. He has appeared on Tyler Perry's hit series The Have & The Have Nots, a drama series on Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network. He also starred in Perry's theatrical production Madea's Neighbors From Hell. In addition to his work with Perry, the Atlanta-based entertainer has starred in other theater productions and musicals. Among them are Edward Fernandez's What God Joined Together and Black Nativity. Dathan was featured on an episode of the Travel Channel's Time Traveling with Brian Unger and also had roles in "Scary Movie 5" and the independent film Lyfe's Journey.
Dathan is the season eight winner of BET's Sunday Best: All-Stars. Dathan returned to win the hit competition series in 2015 after first making an indelible impression on season three of "Sunday Best" in 2010. His prize for winning season eight was a record contract with Gospel music superstar Kirk Franklin.
“The advice I would give to students currently enrolled in JPS is to take advantage of the different programs like IB, APAC, and programs geared towards what you want to do when you graduate. Be intentional. Make good grades. All of the things you’re learning now will pay off in the long run.”