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Introducing 'The Stakes,' A Political Podcast That's Not About Politics, Except When It Is

In this episode: The fight to de-awful the Internet, remembering Prince as an identity trailblazer, the expanding scope of what constitutes a superhero, and some bathroom stall poetry

Now hear this: This month, MTV News is unveiling the MTV Podcast Network, a constellation of new shows about music, pop culture, and politics. Today, we’re proud to present the first episode of our political magazine show, "The Stakes." It's the end of a long week in a long election cycle, and we're kicking off our weekend by swerving around the election a little, talking politics of gender via the Internet, queer identity via Prince, race via comic books, and wrapping up with a dark bathroom stall reverie.

Part 1: Deputy MTV politics editor Julianne Ross in conversation with author Soraya Chemaly on the fight to balance safe spaces and free speech online.

Part 2: MTV senior political correspondent Ana Marie Cox and MTV political reporter Jane Coaston discuss Jane's memorial essay, "Prince Made Me Free," about a rock icon who became a road map for queer kids.

Part 3: MTV senior national correspondent Jamil Smith brings in Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Axel Alonso to talk Ta-Nehisi Coates's run on Black Panther and Marvel's push to expand the range of people we expect to see as superheroes.

Part 4: MTV News's resident poet Marcus Patrick Ellsworth, in accordance with all the shouty people on the news, has developed a fear of public restrooms! But what is he so afraid of?

Welcome to "The Stakes." We hope you like it.