A Transformative ‘90s Crush 

We’re heading back to the ‘90s with Benjamin Carlton this week, a man who is proud to say he’s Black, gay, and a minister. You’ll get to hear more about all of that and a couple of crushes he had back in the day later this week but first up…my chat with him led me to think back to the Black actors in the ‘90s that filled my small screen because while we like to think as that time as sooo progressive, we were still lacking a lot of representation. It was slow and steady with shows like ‘Family Matter,’ ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,’ and ‘Martin.’ 

All of which were on in my house from time to time, especially ‘Family Matters’ as TGIF was my motherfucking jam! So I wanted to shine a light on a crush from the ‘90s who glimmered on a sitcom that was predominantly Black and gave little Black kids like myself some much-needed representation and that is Roger from none other than ‘Sister, Sister.’ 

“Go home, Roger!” 

One of the most iconic TV lines from the ‘90s was said throughout the course of ‘Sister, Sister’s’ six-season run to the annoying neighbor, Roger, played by Marques Houston. When the show started in 1994, Houston was a pint-sized 13-year-old made to be like a Kimmy Gibler of sorts. That neighbor you sort of couldn’t stand, but who was integral to the show nonetheless. Side note – Kimmy went on to be my favorite character in the reboot, ‘Fuller House.’ Back to Roger though…because when that show started, I’m sure NO ONE was crushing on him. Okay, maybe a few people saw past that dorky exterior OR knew that outside of the show he was cute as could be in the R&B group, Immature, later known as IMx. I was not one of those people. 

It wasn’t until the fourth season that fans of the show took notice because Houston came back that fall a whole new person! That’s when I thought, okay…Don’t go home, Roger! 

Roger had that magical summer we all dreamed of as a kid, and I think in hindsight that’s what I was really crushing on. That transformation that takes you from a total dork to the one person that everyone is looking at saying, DAYUM…because well, growing up…I was absolutely nothing to write home about. Unless you wanted your letter riddled with stories of an awkward, gigantic girl who could’ve body doubled for the lead in ‘The Blindeside’, and I ain’t talking Sandra Bullock either. 

I would’ve given anything to come back one summer and be the girl every boy talked about. Instead, every fall I returned the same ol’ me, and no boy ever looked my way from kindergarten to 12th grade. It’s funny, I do this show about crushes, and while I’ve had countless both in reality and on many fictional characters and celebrities…I don’t think as a kid I was ever anyone’s crush. That’s a whole other side of the crushgasm realm I know nothing about, but man oh man did I yearn to be someone’s crush. To be like Season 4 Roger, and to finally shed that ugly duckling shell and emerge a motherfucking swan. 

Again, Marques Houston was never horrible looking though. He just played a dork on TV, and it’s that dork that was on many of our crush lists growing up for one reason or another. Yes, I thought he was way cuter come season 4, but I also crushed on the idea of what Roger stood for – that zero to hero (cue Disney’s ‘Hercules’) moment. 

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