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Will Power

by Peter Proko
When planning out this issue you hold in your hands months ago, I was pitched the idea of having Will Smith as our cover star. I didn’t have to think too hard on it. I mean, it is Will Smith after all. He’s one of the biggest names in Hollywood, a venerable actor with the chops to bring down the house with perfect comedic timing or pull at your heart strings with his dramatic presence. And he’s from right across the bridge, perhaps the brightest star to ever come from the City of Brotherly Love.

He’s also the perfect person to be the face of our annual Men of the Year issue. Smith has inspired multiple generations as his career has transcended the past three decades, from his early days as The Fresh Prince the rap star to The Fresh Prince the television star. If you are my age, you probably grew up blasting “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand” in your stereo and sitting in front of the television on Monday nights to see what Philly sports team apparel Smith would don on his wildly popular sitcom.

Of course, Smith would go on to become one of the most respected film actors, starring in numerous box office smashes, cementing his legacy as one of the true entertainers of his time. His family life is often celebrated and rarely makes tabloid headlines. And his dedication to charity work, including being active in his hometown area, has shown he’s never gotten too far away from his humble beginnings.

It’s no wonder why so many, young and old, admire Smith. He appears to be the genuine article. The same could be said for those featured in our Men of the Year spotlight. These fine gentlemen from across South Jersey are helping to build brighter futures for others in so many different ways. For every entertainer who influences the youth, there are plenty of people in our backyard who are making a real impact and should be commended for doing so.

To further the excitement of this issue, we have several note- worthy stories throughout. We take a trip down to A.C. to find out what’s hot at all the casinos, explore what it’s like being on the front lines of emergency response with a special state task force and examine the local connection to the national anthem protests going on across the country. Turn to our Palate section to find some exciting new content as well, including a look at some dishes that will change the way you envision french fries and a few outstanding cocktails you need to try.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to queue up “Summertime” in my playlist so I can try to ward off this cold weather just a little longer.

Kind regards,
Peter J. Proko

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 8 (November, 2016).
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