When Sabaah Folayan agreed to direct the documentary about late rapper XXXTentacion, she knew the job wouldn’t be easy. Before his murder in 2018 at only 20 years old, XXXTentacion had amassed a gargantuan following among fans for his music, which often focused on themes of alienation and mental health. At the same time, he was facing allegations of domestic violence, which complicated his legacy.

In conversation with Andrew Barker for Variety’s Doc Dreams, presented by National Geographic, Folayan explained how she grappled with balancing XXXTentacion’s brutal past with his undeniable cultural impact, and how that all began when she met his mother, Cleo.

“I think we were both scared,” Folayan said. “I was afraid that attaching my name and my reputation to someone who had these allegations against them, that I wouldn’t be able to recover. She was afraid that bringing a feminist and activist in to tell her son’s story, that he was going to be further demonized.”

“Look At Me: XXXTentacion,” now streaming on Hulu, included researching “countless” hours of video footage, much of it from the late rapper himself, who documented every bit of his life, from deeply personal diaries to viral videos of him getting violent. Folayan said that when she set out to do the project, she knew it would have to capture “the good, the bad and the ugly.”

“The reason I’m really here and even pushing past my hesitation is because there’s something to this artist that is really about mental health and about self recovery, which is something that I’m so interested in,” Folayan said of her initial conversations with Cleo. “I just opened up and I was like, ‘I’m here because I feel called to be here. I think that your son was trying to help others and he needed help that he wasn’t getting.’ And from that authenticity, we ended up having a really long conversation and we talked about spirituality and we talked about grief and we talked about her relationship to this story. And that’s how we both realized, ‘These are people that I’ll be able to navigate these difficult waters with.'”

Watch the full conversation in the video above.