In 1991, the Fox network had only been on air for five years. As a competitor to the Big Three television networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC), Fox programming contained unconventional shows that pushed the envelope; one of which was the American comedy drama, Roc.

Created and directed by Stan Daniels, Roc debuted on the upstart television network on August 25, 1991. Starring Charles S. Dutton as the show’s title character, it initially began as a traditional television sitcom, chronicling the life experiences of Charles “Roc” Emerson, a Baltimore garbage collector who lived with an admirable amount of integrity.

What set Roc apart from many other situational comedies, is its more dramatic tone – something the series adopted as time progressed. It featured social commentaries on gang violence, drug usage, and the Black struggle in America. Alongside Dutton, the show’s stellar cast – which included Ella Joyce, Garrett Morris, and Rocky Carroll (just to name a few) – helped to provide unforgettable television moments.

Unfortunately, two of Roc’s key figures passed away after the show’s final episode in May of 1994. Carl Gordon, who portrayed Andrew “Pop” Emerson, Roc’s wisdom-filled father, died in 2010; and Dwight Myers – better known as Heavy D – who played Roc’s friend and co-worker Calvin Hendricks, departed in 2011.

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Roc’s debut, we look back on the show’s stars – then and now.