Rapper Nelly brought kidnapping victim Amanda Berry out onstage at a Cleveland concert Saturday, just one day after her captor Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to kidnap and rape charges.
On Thursday, the same day Castro was sentenced, Nelly reflected on his choice to invite Berry onstage, saying that she had inspired him.
"I just wanted Cleveland to know that we were proud of her and that the strength and the pulse of the city is built around the people," he told MTV News.
Concert footage shows the 27-year-old survivor walking onstage with her family and waving at the cheering crowd as Nelly dedicates his hit “Just a Dream” to her.
It was Berry’s first public appearance since she gained her freedom in May by kicking down a door of the house in which she was held captive.
"When we got to 'Just a Dream,' I wanted to make sure that we had a chance to acknowledge her," he said.
The rapper added that Berry’s story of survival inspired him "to do almost anything."
Berry's kidnapper Castro was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years on Thursday after Michelle Knight, one of his three victims, faced him down in court.
Berry, Knight and Gina DeJesus all disappeared between 2002 and 2004 when they were 16, 20 and 14 years old. They escaped in May after Berry kicked out part of a door and called to neighbors for help.
Watch Nelly's full interview here.