Billy Roberts was born in 1951 in Boston, Massachusetts in the tight-knit Roxbury neighborhood before moving to Los Angeles after the death of his mother. He attended the University of Massachusetts, where he became a Baha'i, and later trained as a therapist. Billy also started the celebrated Baha'i "Black Men's Gatherings" in 1987 to encourage Baha'i men of African descent in their spiritual lives and in their services to humanity.