Roker was born in Queens, New York, the son of Isabel, of Jamaican descent, and Albert Lincoln Roker, Sr., a labor relations negotiator, bus driver and dispatcher, of Bahamian descent. Roker initially wanted to be a cartoonist. He was raised Catholic (in the faith of his mother) and graduated from Xavier High School in Manhattan. He worked on several projects as a member of the school's Cartooning & Illustration Club. He attended the State University of New York at Oswego where he double-majored in graphic design and broadcasting/journalism. Roker is the cousin of the late actress Roxie Roker, who was most notable for her role on the sitcom The Jeffersons and the mother of popular rock musician Lenny Kravitz.