No actor with Caribbean roots had a better run on primetime TV than Alfonso Ribeiro, the Bronx-born son of parents from T&T. After starting his television career dancing in a 1984 Pepsi commercial with Michael Jackson, Alfonso brought his moves to a supporting role on the already-popular Silver Spoons, replacing Jason Bateman as Ricky Schroeder’s best friend. (Around this same time he also appeared in commercials advertising a how-to book on breakdancing that have taken on their own life in the Internet era).
The role of Ribeiro’s lifetime however would come in the ’90s as Carlton Banks, Will Smith’s cardigan-wearing, Tom Jones-obsessed preppie cousin. The result was one of the most iconic TV characters of the ’90s, and a rare example of a child actor smoothly transitioning into a more mature (even if not fully adult) role. Carlton is one of those characters one can never quite live down, as evidenced by the inevitable appearance of “The Carlton Dance” during Ribeiro’s current run on Dancing with the Stars.