Victim of a horrific, decade-long imprisonment by Ariel Castro in Cleveland, Ohio, miraculously escaping earlier this year—27 year old Amanda Berry shot to the headlines as the instigator of a heroic escape. Last month, Amanda Berry and fellow victims Michelle Knight and Gina De Jesus made their first announcement—expressing their optimism at moving on with their lives.
A day after the kidnapper of the three women, Ariel Castro, avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty—formally facing his sentence of life plus 1000 years in prison on August 1—survivor Amanda Berry made her first public appearance, in a somewhat obscure setting: sharing a stage with Nelly.
Shane French, host of a Cleveland radio show, said that he had previously extended an invitation for Berry to attend Roverfest, an annual festival held in Cleveland, unaware she may have been listening. French said that Berry had “ten years of partying to make up for, so she should come.” Surprisingly, Amanda Berry did show, and was invited on stage with Nelly, greeted by an emotional applause and response from the audience, news.com.au reports. After living through what must have been an incomprehensibly traumatic ten years, any semblance of returning to Berry’s old life is surely a good thing, bravely echoing Michelle Knight’s fearless statement, saying that, “I will not let the situation define who I am. I will define the situation.”