“There is a kind of darkness that cannot be dispersed with a mere smile.” – Rose to Dee Jay, Super Street Fighter IV
For someone who has appeared in three different installments of the Street Fighter series, Dee Jay has not gotten very much in the way of character development. His entire story is linear and very easy to follow chronologically. In Alpha 3, he is a famous kickboxer who is confronted by a record producer when he is walking down the street one day. The man, named Bob, tells Dee Jay he wants to produce his records, and Dee Jay is ecstatic. The scene unfolds as such:
Later, as seen in multiple iterations of Street Fighter II, Dee Jay becomes a worldwide sensation, appearing in concerts all over the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQIAPffJr0s
As Dee Jay states in Ultra Street Fighter II, the inspiration for his success comes from his experience in fighting.
In Super Street Fighter IV, after becoming a worldwide superstar, Dee Jay is seen in a bar relaxing and having a drink, until a thug comes in to make trouble. Dee Jay handily dispatches him, taunting him for his poor decision. After joining the Street Fighter IV tournament, he faces Rufus and dispatches Seth in his own manner. This leads to his exploits being put to film, and as his fight with Seth is shown at a movie theater, Dee Jay spends time at a local hotel, dancing with other patrons who cheer him on. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtKIO7hW4cQ
And that is Dee Jay’s entire story. He’s a successful kickboxer turned musician, with some possible acting thrown in. The end. This leaves me with nearly nothing to go on. Yes, he has small rivalries with the likes of Adon and Sagat in Alpha 3 and Rufus in Street Fighter IV, but that’s it. They lead nowhere. There are no blood feuds. No real conflict. The entire time, Dee Jay kept his head down and focused on what he already had. He became a pop superstar. He’s rich. He can do pretty much anything he wants, and he clearly enjoys his life, smiling all the time. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be anything off with Dee Jay at all. He’s a really fun and energetic character.
In fact, I looked for ANYTHING that I could possibly use to make a theory. I looked at my previous theory on Lucia and tried to find a connection with Santeria or voodoo. https://manestreetblog.com/2019/10/02/lucia-voodoo-queen/
I found nothing.
Maybe he was a substance abuser? He has that drink in his Super Street Fighter IV intro. There’s also a possibility that, being from Jamaica, he could be Rastafarian and enjoy a little Mary Jane on the side.
Again, I found nothing. Plus, the bar he’s in appears to specialize in pop, if the signs are any indication (or, more likely, it could just be a beer with the brand name “Soda”).
Perhaps he was hiding crippling depression? I mentioned in one of my Juri theories that there was a condition called hyperthymic temperament which is “characterized by an exceptionally, or in some cases, abnormally positive mood and disposition.” This fits Dee Jay to a tee. https://manestreetblog.com/2020/05/16/a-juri-of-her-peers/
However, it’s only a problem if it manifests as a symptom of other known mental health diseases, such as bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder. One of Dee Jay’s known quirks is that he hates silence, and from this, the possibility stood out that he was trying to quiet terrible voices in his head with all of the ruckus he loves to make. https://game.capcom.com/cfn/sfv/column-130316
Considering Dee Jay’s mood has been stable during the course of his characterization, and considering he has never shown any sort of depressive state at any time, it looks pretty safe to say his upbeat personality isn’t the product of a mental health issue. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperthymic_temperament
That being said, the extremely ominous win quote at the top of this page is a sign that there’s something up. There are two ways of looking at it. The first, Rose is trying to get Dee Jay to understand that he can’t beat someone like Seth or Bison by grinning and being happy. The second, that Dee Jay is hiding his own darkness behind his smile. With the way that the quote is written, with Rose talking about a singular type of darkness, it seems more like she’s addressing the skeletons in Dee Jay’s closet.
So, what exactly is Dee Jay hiding behind that eternal grin? What is his darkness?
Nothing has been said by Capcom so far about Dee Jay’s past pre-Alpha. He was already an established kickboxer with the nickname “The Southern Comet” by the time Alpha 3 came around. However, there are some things in the current story that could possibly allude to what Dee Jay is truly about.
If we look at Dee Jay’s bio in the CFN character guides, we see the following descriptor: “Some people say he’s more thoughtless than carefree because he doesn’t stop smiling, even when he’s losing!” This is an odd way of describing Dee Jay’s personality, but it seems to ring true – Dee Jay isn’t taking the time to think about his actions. https://game.capcom.com/cfn/sfv/column-130316
Dee Jay’s kickboxing career is managed by a man named Rick, and CFN has a bio on him as well. As it states on his profile, “He works to support Dee Jay, even if it means being given the runaround a bit.” https://game.capcom.com/cfn/sfv/column/132184?lang=en
It’s clear that Dee Jay is a very hectic person with his busy lifestyle, and Dee Jay can be quite demanding. However, based on what’s on Fandom, there’s more to the story:
“According to a short story in a Gamest issue, Rick makes a visit to The Lemony to drink his sorrows away after the events of Alpha 3 and before the Second World Warrior Tournament when under some hard times; along with having lost a lot of money on a big wager, he presumes his wife is seeing another man by the name of Henkley behind his back. While he and Dee Jay are still on good terms, it has been a year since Dee Jay left for stardom after having breezed through his kickboxing division to the top, leaving for the rest of the world after winning the local fighting tournament, and being noticed as a new music sensation, leaving him feeling somewhat dejected and left out.
“As the night appeared to turn for the worst as the local mafia came to extort The Lemony’s owner and shut off the music, much to his surprise, Dee Jay appeared and confronted the gang. Taking queue of Dee Jay’s voice and signal, Rick immediately blasts a track from his latest album. After having taken care of the thugs, Rick is relieved that his best friend is back, and gives him a welcome home before he again leaves for parts unknown.” https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Rick#Story
Considering Gamest has been out of print since 1999, and the original references that Fandom used have disappeared, it’s hard to corroborate this story. If this story is canon, however, then this is a telling sign of what Dee Jay’s one flaw is: his abandonment of people when they’re no longer useful. He pursues his own goals and doesn’t pay attention to he aftermath of his decisions.
As it says on both Fandom and in the Street Fighter World Warrior Encyclopedia, Rick “is constantly troubled by [Dee Jay’s] carefree ways. Despite being dismayed at times by his friend’s exploits that seem sudden and reckless, Rick supports him in his pursuits, and is always cheered up by his constant smile, carefree happiness, and unyielding spirit, even in the worst of times.” In other words, Dee Jay is constantly on the go, changing his whims at the drop of a hat. This makes it even worse for the people who are around him, since his unpredictable nature means they have to prepare for every scenario, including him leaving them behind.
This must have been what Rose was alluding to. Dee Jay’s smile can’t hide the fact he’s a user of people. Dee Jay showed his true colors. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself.
“But he came back and helped Rick in the story!” It doesn’t matter. Even Rick was surprised that Dee Jay showed up to help, which meant that Dee Jay never even so much as called him to say he was gonna pay a visit, and it’s clear that based on the conclusion, Dee Jay was going to leave again, and he would leave again without taking the man responsible for his good fortune with him.
It’s clear that “DJ” stands for Dumb Jerk.