Hopkins is best known for her roles as Adelaide "Addy" Wilson on the National Broadcasting Company"s Gimme a Break! (1984–1987) alongside Nell Carter, and as Rachel Baines-Crawford on American Broadcasting Company/Columbia Broadcasting System sitcom Family Matters (1989–1997). Hopkins started her career as a background singer in Detroit, Michigan, singing on many of the Golden World and Motown hits and working with legendary acts like The Four Tops and Marvin Gaye. She also sang back up for Isaac Hayes and can be heard famously exclaiming "Shut your mouth!" on Hayes" hit song "Theme From Shaft" as well as the hip hop track "Thuggish Ruggish Bone".
In 1971, Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson were recruited by Tony Orlando to form the vocal group Dawn.
(Orlando had released the singles "Candida" and "Knock Three Times", recorded with session vocalists Linda November and Toni Wine backing him, under the name Dawn. When the singles charted, Orlando found himself needing to assemble an actual backing group to tour and record with) As a recording act, Tony Orlando and Dawn would have much success throughout the second half of the 1970s, releasing 16 top-40 singles, three of which reached #1, and starring in a Columbia Broadcasting System variety show (entitled Tony Orlando and Dawn) from 1974-1976.
Hopkins played Darren Roanoke"s mother in the The Love Guru. She starred in the play Juris Doctor Lawrence"s The Clean Up Woman in October 2008.
Hopkins often volunteers her time for charitable causes.
She has worked with Caring Foreign Babies with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Acting on Arthritis, and the Parent-Teachers Association. She also mentors children. Hopkins remains a huge supporter of inspirational radio and granted permission for The Jazz Joy and Roy radio show to use her supportive remarks on the program"s promos. Hopkins said to Jazz Joy and Roy, "I was raised by a grandmother who told me I could do whatever I wanted to do, as long as I was willing to work hard for lieutenant." She played the role of Marilyn Persons on the Turner Broadcasting System sitcom.