The media coverage of Nipsey Hussle‘s death may, at times, seem overwhelming for many readers, but it’s for a good reason. The shooting death of a gang-affiliated black rapper in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles could have been spun many ways in mainstream media. All that Nipsey worked for—encouraging his community, motivating his peers, building up the next generation—could have been lost in the coverage if hip hop culture hadn’t taken hold of the narrative, making sure that Nipsey’s true character was respected before all else.

Yesterday, famed film director Ava DuVernay was honored at the Free Expression Awards where she took a moment to dedicate her award to the Grammy-nominated rapper and to speak on the “respectful” media coverage of both his life and death. “This week, I have been motivated and deeply moved by the press coverage of this brother from South Central Los Angeles,” DuVernay said. “His life has galvanized a response that has become a real powerful moment for me and for so many people who rarely see that kind of attention given to people like him.”

“I was honestly surprised by the quality of coverage of television outlets, local and national, who covered the story over a number of days with what felt like actual respect,” DuVernay said. “So many journalists rising to the sad occasion with the clarity and care that I rarely recall for the discussion of black life.”

“I will always hold him in my heart. A heart that breaks for his family tonight, that breaks for all of us who loved and admired him,” she said. “His vision and voice will continue to ring in my ears like they did when we talked. Thank you, Nipsey. May you rise in power and be a reminder to us all to live and tell our truth as fiercely and as adamantly as you did. Until we meet again.”