There exists a strong possibility that you’ve done an impression of Telma Hopkins at least once.
Okay, you’re shaking your head. How does a background singer best known for being part of Tony Orlando and Dawn, later turned actress, fit into your repertoire? Repeat after me: “Shut yo’ mouth.” If this in any way sounds like you’re replying to Isaac Hayes intoning “You say this cat Shaft is a bad muthah,” you’ve just done an impression of Telma Hopkins, whose voice is out front on that line in Hayes’ original Theme from Shaft.
Before working with Hayes, Hopkins was based in Detroit, where she sang for Berry Gordy at Motown and for crosstown rival Eddie Wingate. After Orlando hit with “Candida” with two studio singers, management figured out that he’d need a touring group, and hired Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson.
This little orange number comes from the days of Half & Half, a successful (for UPN, anyway) comedy that didn’t get picked up when The CW was created:
And this is just a classic reaction shot:
And Telma’s still busy, with continuing gigs on Are We There Yet? (TBS), Lab Rats (Disney XD), and Partners (FX). In the latter, she plays Martin Lawrence’s mom. In real life, they’re 16 years apart. (Lawrence turned 50 this spring.)