Both Not Half: Fostering belonging in a divided world

In 2019, Jassa Ahluwalia went viral with a comedy video of himself speaking Punjabi, a language he has spoken since childhood by virtue of his mixed British-Indian heritage. In an attempt to articulate his sense of self to viewers confused by his white appearance, he originated the hashtag #BothNotHalf – a rewording and a reimagining of mixed identity. This story became the focus of his 2020 TEDx talk and his BBC One documentary – Am I English? – in 2022. Both Not Half has since evolved into a rallying cry for a new and inclusive future, a campaign for belonging in a divided world.

Jassa Ahluwalia

British actor, writer and filmmaker

Jassa Ahluwalia is a British actor, writer and filmmaker. Born in Coventry, raised in Leicester, he came to prominence as loveable badboy Rocky in the hit BBC Three series Some Girls, followed by starring roles in Unforgotten, Ripper Street, and Peaky Blinders. Jassa is the creator of the hashtag #BothNotHalf, which he uses to explore mixed identity and his own British-Indian heritage. His TEDx talk has clocked up over 150k views and his BBC One documentary – Am I English? – won an Asian Media Award in 2022. He is currently writing his first book – Both Not Half – to be published in 2024 by Bonnier Books UK.

Session location and time will be published via the Festival App in late October.