“What held us back more than anything was making the record, taking what we did onstage and getting people to embrace it on record,” Kennedy said. “The bureaucracy was harder on us than on the people who wanted to invest in the band. We had some good managers, but I don’t think they could see past the interracial element.”
When the integrated lineup of Sly and the Family Stone is mentioned, Kennedy points out that the San Francisco soulsters were primarily an R&B group, while Mother’s Finest reveled in its jagged edges, which was a harder sell to radio. Besides, she said, Sly’s West Coast roots offered “a somewhat different mentality” than the South in the ’70s.
But the band remained steadfast and today, Kennedy, who lives with Murdock in Stone Mountain, is reflective and grateful.
“The music business is a machine and sometimes if you don’t fit the machine, it makes your life hell,” she said. “But your spirit and fortitude, you have to rely on that. That’s why I’m excited about the induction because it says regardless of what happened during the journey, we weren’t overlooked. What we did had a focus, an effect.
“Destiny plays such a huge part in any artist’s career. Sometimes you’re not supposed to open the door. Sometimes you just have to create a path and let other people know it’s possible.”