Zackary Canepari

2012 - 2016

Flint, Michigan, United States

Briana is the sister of Olympic Gold Medal Boxer Claressa “T-Rex” Shields and often that’s how she’s defined. Claressa was featured in the documentary "T-Rex" directed by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper, produced by Sue Jaye Johnson. In that film, Briana says that Claressa is her better half, which would make her the worse half, or at very least the other half. Briana is cut from the same cloth as Claressa - she's tough, charismatic, resilient. Briana is Claressa without the boxing. In a town like Flint, Michigan, you need something to get you out. And Briana doesn’t have that. So she’s stuck in Flint. In another town, all of her strengths might help her rise and get ahead. But she’s not in another town.

The photos are featured in the book REX published by Contrasto. The film was supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and published on CNN's Great Big Story.

"T-Rex" is currently available on Vimeo and iTunes.

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  • Briana Shields, 18

  • Briana Shields (in the back), 18, holds her little boy Fatdaddy (real name Bradford) in her bedroom in The Villa, a housing complex in North Flint. Briana's cousin Coco and Coco's little girl Lani are also pictured. Briana and Fatdaddy only lived there for about 6 months before they had to move back in with Briana's mom. At the time this photo was taken, Fatdaddy's father was in prison.

  • Briana, 19, walks to a meeting at Job Corp, hoping to get into the local training program in Flint.

  • A party store in Flint on a foggy morning.

  • Briana, 19, is living with her son, her mom and her teenage brother and his newborn kid in a house in North Flint.

  • Fatdaddy looks out the window of his grandmother's house in Flint. The windows are plastic because the house next door was burnt down during Halloween and the heat destroyed the windows on the house of the grandmother.

  • Briana Shields, 18, is the younger sister of Olympic Boxer Claressa “T-Rex” Shields. Claressa and Briana are very close but Briana never found an outlet like boxing. While Claressa trains for her second Olympic Gold medal, Briana has dropped out of school and is raising her 2 year-old boy Fatdaddy. His real name is Bradford but no one calls him that.

  • Claressa Shields, 20, takes a goodbye selfie with her young sister Briana, 18. Claressa is moving from her hometown to Colorado, the first time she has ever lived outside of Flint.

  • Flint, Michigan from a dirty plane window.

  • Briana Shields, 18, shadowboxes with her son Fatdaddy in a hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. Briana was out of Flint for the first time in her life watching her sister, Olympic Gold Medal Boxer Claressa "T-Rex" Shields compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials.

  • Briana Shields, 15. This was one of the first night I hung out with Briana. Her sister was in the car and the two of them wrestled in the grass for 30 minutes.

  • Brianna Shields, 17, and her baby "Fatdaddy" at the apartment they share with her mother and brother.