Issa Rae: Nipsey Hussle "cared about us when nobody else did"

Issa Rae talks "Little" and finding her voice

Issa Rae grew up in the same community as Nipsey Hussle, the rapper and neighborhood activist who was gunned down outside his Los Angeles store on Sunday.  The "Insecure" star  told "CBS This Morning" that losing Nipsey was a "true tragedy."

"It's a huge, devastating loss because he was one of the few people who's so much about his community and so much about empowering and prioritizing us and making sure to reinvest in the community by giving us black businesses, his store, he invested in coffee shops," Rae said. "He was just really passionate about making sure that this remained ours. He was anti-gentrification and cared about us when nobody else did."

Outside of his music, which earned him a Grammy nomination earlier this year, Hussle focused his efforts on bridging the divide between inner-city youth and tech. He opened a STEM center and co-working space in his South Los Angeles neighborhood where young people could attend classes.

"It was such a tragedy to lose him because he had so many, so many goals and was so respected, as you can see from the outpouring of love and, you know, it's a true tragedy," Rae said. "People want justice. They want justice to be served. Like, everyone is feeling this loss, tremendously so I mean I don't blame them."

Rae has earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her starring role in the critically acclaimed HBO series "Insecure," a show she grew from a web series and for which serves as executive producer.

Issa Rae talks "Little," finding her voice, and "devastating loss" of Nipsey Hussle

In the new movie "Little," Rae portrays April, the assistant to a demanding tech mogul (Regina Hall) who is forced to cover for her boss when one day she wakes up as her 13-year-old self.

The younger version of Regina Hall's character is portrayed by Marsai Martin -- a pretty perfect fit for the actress who played the witty and bossy Diane on the hit sit-com "Black-ish." Rae said she enjoyed playing April but at first struggled to get into the role.

"You know, I haven't been someone's assistant in a very long time. To play Regina Hall's assistant, who's just so hilarious and take her abuse was fun," Rae said. "And to take Marsai's [Martin] abuse is a lot of fun. It was just, I definitely struggled with finding my voice and being able to speak up for myself and so to be able to internalize that kind of again with April and then find a journey to find her voice was a pleasure to play."

Rae got her start in entertainment when her web series "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl" took off. It eventually became the inspiration for her HBO series "Insecure." Despite starring in and executive producing her own HBO series and gracing the covers of magazines like Essence, Rae said she'll always feel like an "awkward black girl" inside.

"Nobody can tell you what you feel inside. I've definitely – I have confidence for sure. I'm not out here feeling sorry for myself. But you know you just feel uncomfortable in certain situations. I will always identify as an awkward black girl no matter what happens."